Everyone in our industry believes that things will change over the next few years no matter what the Supreme Court decides. What I would ask brokers is how they are preparing for these changes. The days of walking into the client’s business once a year and explaining how they have shopped the market and found the cheapest rate are over. The broker of today and in the future will need to be well informed, better educated, and much more versatile. In the past, a broker would be a “one trick pony” and make an adequate living. The future broker will have to be the problem solver with multiple solutions. They may need to be well versed not only in health insurance but in all insurance products as well as Human Resources, and even payroll. To justify their value to the client, the broker will need to differentiate from their competitors. Ask yourself, what makes you different from all other brokers. How are you bringing unique solutions to the client’s problem? If you are using price, the computer or exchanges can replace you tomorrow. On the other hand, if you provide solutions that are unique to each client’s business, no one will replace you. Not the exchanges, not the internet, not even your competing brokers will be able to take that client from you. Get to know your business client. Have an understanding of the business and what sets it apart. Understand the problems that the business has because of its own uniqueness. Great example is timing the renewal of a group that makes sense. April probably is not the best time for an accounting firm to have its renewal. You may laugh but I see this type of situation and just shake my head at that broker. Do you really think that it might be a good idea to change that to another time of the year? Listen to your client and don’t assume you know what their problem is. Too many brokers make an assumption that the problem is the cost of health insurance premiums and go about solving that issue when the true problem is the lack of appreciation of the employer sponsored benefits. These two issues are completely different in how they are solved. As the broker, you need to first determine what the most pressing issue is for the client and most of the time it isn’t really the cost. As a broker, are you listening or are you talking? There is a reason you have two ears, two eyes and only one mouth. Observe and listen and I assure you will increase your bottom line dramatically.