Given the complexities health care reform has delivered to the benefits market, Debbie Gilbert, owner and president of Innovative Insurance Solutions in Grapevine, Texas, no longer sees herself as a traditional broker.
Instead, Gilbert says she plays the role of consultant as her clients depend on her expertise to guide them through the evolving legislation. Of course, there are traditional broker tasks Gilbert still delivers, such as quoting, but it’s her knowledge and client education efforts that provide an especially strong value during this time of uncertainty.
“Explaining all of these constant changes to our employers and employees is one of the biggest challenges we all have right now,” Gilbert says. “I see this as a time that we can all accomplish something more, and the need for us is even greater now.”
Staying on top of carrier changes is another important task for today’s brokers, Gilbert says. As health reform continues to come out with regulations, carriers are constantly updating their policies and forms in an effort to remain compliant and better serve consumers. These carrier changes may have good intentions, but keeping up with the new policies can be challenging.
While 2014 holds much change ahead, Gilbert says she isn’t waiting to prepare for the future. Innovative Insurance Solutions’ top priority is to enhance its technology system, which will complement the exchange system, Gilbert says. This upgraded system is expected to allow employers and employees to better navigate the database and receive more information.
Gilbert also is diversifying her book of business in preparation for 2014. While Gilbert has always been involved with selling ancillary products, such as dental, vision and life insurance, she has started selling more supplemental benefits, including cancer, accident and gap plans. Additionally, Gilbert is placing a greater focus on consumer-driven health care plans, including health savings accounts and health reimbursement accounts. Even hiring a Medicare expert is an option, and Innovative Insurance Solutions is considering becoming a full-service agency after working with some investors.
The benefits industry may be changing, but Gilbert remains optimistic in her company’s potential for growth. Rather than sit back, Gilbert is dedicated to evolving her business as the industry changes in order to help her clients.
“I’m an action-taker; I don’t sit back and let things happen,” Gilbert says. “I try to get involved, roll with it and make it work. You have to be open for change and embrace it.”
Originally published on BenefitsPRO
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