As a health insurance broker or agent, growing your book of business is a priority. While standard methods like upselling, networking, and advertising are the traditional path to a solid book of business, staying up to date on popular health benefits is also key.
Many brokers and agents understand traditional health insurance options such as group health insurance. But fewer understand how flexible health benefits like health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)can help their book of business, and your clients, be more successful.
This blog will discuss ways to create and grow your insurance book of business, including how an HRA can help you meet your business goals.
What is an insurance book of business?
An insurance book of business is a directory or "book" that lists an insurance agent or broker’s accounts and clients, both past and present. When you acquire a new client, their information is added to your book. Therefore, your book of business should be ever-changing as your clientele expands and grows.
Books of business are beneficial when you need to look back on customer data, follow up on customer service, review product information, and optimize your sales decisions. This data enables you to evaluate the growth of your business and continue making appropriate decisions for your clients.
Traditionally, your book of business would be translated into spreadsheets, but this process can be time-consuming and frustrating. An industry-specific customer relationship management (CRM) tool can help relieve this burden.
A CRM helps manage your clients, marketing, sales information, and customer and financial service interactions. The right software solution can make it easier to take ownership of your business, identify new opportunities and run marketing campaigns all in one place.
How do you create a book of business?
Building a book of business starts on day one after becoming an insurance broker. However, building a solid book can take several years, so prepare for slow and steady work.
Your book should be more than a list of current clients and their contact information. A comprehensive book of business includes data, details of each transaction, and applicable personal information.
Other items to include in your book of business are:
- Client demographics
- Assets under management
- Revenue generated from each client
- Policy and renewal information
- Potential future needs
After the initial creation of your book, you’ll want to implement a marketing program to get you on the road to success in your career.
The following steps will help you build your book of business and independent insurance agency to its highest potential over several years:
- Identify insurance carriers with a strong product history and a competitive range of rates.
- Gather information on potential prospects to create a better foundation for client relationship building.
- Acquire specific insurance product knowledge training for yourself and your insurance agency’s staff.
- Create a relationship-based sales process built on trust, respect, and honesty to drive future insurance sales.
- Work with your insurer to create a proactive and comprehensive marketing plan.
- Stay consistent in your approach to successful client conversion.
- Track all your metrics with a CRM system that allows you to view monthly results.
How can you grow your book of business?
Book growth is an important part of your business for a thriving agent or broker. Luckily, there are several ways to help your book of business thrive in today’s modern insurance industry.
Fundamental principles to growing a successful book of business include:
- Focusing on client retention by engaging in regular client contact and relationship nurturing.
- Ensuring you spend enough time converting prospects to clients.
- Prioritizing the digitalization of your business to align with the rise of online insurance shopping.
- Creating a modern marketing plan to reach a broader and more diverse audience.
While this all may seem overwhelming at first, leveraging these tools will contribute to your business's overall growth and longevity and create a stronger relationship between you, your prospects, and your clients.
How an HRA can add to your book of business
A health insurance broker's role in helping their client select healthcare is critical. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), roughly four million people that enrolled in health insurance via the federal Marketplace in 2020 were assisted by a broker or independent agent.
But in addition to the Marketplace, HRAs should be considered a viable health benefit option.
HRAs are an excellent way for your clients to offset their employees’ healthcare costs. They’re an employer-owned and funded arrangement that offers your clients’ employees an allowance of tax-free money to spend on qualified medical expenses.
Because your clients choose the allowance amount, the flexible control and design of HRAs gives them an edge over traditional group health plans.
HRAs are an effective way to enhance your client’s benefit package. With them, your clients can tailor their health benefit to fit their company’s goals while still offering their employees the best healthcare benefit possible.
As a business owner, HRAs offer your clients significant advantages, such as:
- Customization: They choose an allowance amount and what expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
- Tax advantages: Their employer contributions are tax-deductible and free from payroll and social security taxes.
- Cost control: HRA funds stay with the employer, even if the employee leaves the company, and allowance money is only released when employees are approved for a qualified healthcare expense.
- Employee empowerment: Employees take greater control over their healthcare, creating better benefits engagement.
Some brokers think of HRAs as an obstacle to their insurance business, but they’re often misunderstood. In fact, there’s an HRA, known as the integrated HRA, that works alongside the group health insurance plans you sell to your clients.
An integrated HRA, sometimes called a group coverage HRA (GCHRA), supplements your client’s group health plan by helping their employees pay for costs not fully covered in their group health insurance plan, such as deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Like other HRAs, integrated HRAs are employer-funded only. The allowance amount is unlimited, so your clients have the freedom to customize the benefit, including how much allowance they want to offer, what expenses they will reimburse, and how much money a specific employee class will receive.
Generally, employers use an integrated HRA with a high deductible health plan (HDHP) to take advantage of the lower premiums and offer the HRA allowance to offset the high deductible. But you can have an integrated HRA with any group health plan.
With an integrated HRA, a broker's job remains the same. Simply work with your client and insurance carrier to find the best group health insurance policy for them and their business.
If your client wants to enhance their policy by offering employees an extra benefit, recommend an integrated HRA through PeopleKeep to help bridge the gaps.
Creating and growing a robust insurance book of business should always be top of mind for successful insurance brokers. As your insurance company continues to expand, staying up to date on benefits like HRAs puts your clients in a better position when choosing the best health plan for their organization.
Integrated HRAs help enrich your client’s group health insurance policy and make your group health insurance policy offering more substantial. Refer a client to PeopleKeep today and you’ll receive a commission from us as a thanks for sending them our way!