Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with one of our premier broker partners, Phil Jacoby of United Benefits Solutions (UBS) regarding the importance of education as a benefits broker.

“When I started in the insurance industry, I thought once I passed my licensing test, ‘what else do I need to learn?’ I found that that is the furthest thing from the truth. As with other professionals, there is a requirement for continuing education. However, that is only the bare minimum, only the tip of the iceberg. For those of us in the benefits profession, tort law, legislative and political currents have made education not only necessary but, our responsibility. Without the proper education there is no way to properly advise our clients”, stated Mr. Jacoby.

UBS takes an aggressive approach to educating its staff regarding changes in the industry. Here’s how.

Reading

Reading is an easy way to stay abreast of changes. However, knowing what to read and where to go for information can be challenging. One of the keys to deciphering information is to stay away from articles with political bents. Deal with factual based sources written by industry leaders.

 “I read a lot of blogs, visit Healthcare.gov and read legislative pieces,” said Jacoby.

The broker industry receives hundreds of emails a week, however subscribing to newsletters or blogs like Jacoby mentioned will be a valuable addition to your inbox. Just the smallest of updates are great pieces of information to keep on top of industry fluctuations.

Writing

Jacoby also explained, he has done a bit of writing.

“I issued a white paper and publish blogs every few weeks on health care topics,” Jacoby said.

If you visit the UBS website, you will find a section dedicated to education. In fact, the tab is aptly named: Commitment to Education. In that section you will find the blogs Jacoby mentioned. There is also a page that has beneficial links for employers to find helpful health care information and a glossary of insurance terms. A novice, like me, found these particularly interesting. 

Writing about these topics provides the catalyst for Jacoby and his team to research topics and better understand the legislation changes. It also establishes UBS as credible industry experts, giving them a unique competitive edge.

Partnering

Although UBS prides itself on providing a wide variety of services, it is necessary to establish key partnerships with carriers and vendors to meet client needs

One such vendor is PrimePay. UBS chose to work with PrimePay to help with the legal aspects of compliance. Presently, UBS focuses on selling PrimePay’s Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) wrap documents and HRA solutions to clients.

“Listening to your clients and establishing their needs is a vital part of the business. Being versatile and creative allows UBS to stand apart from our peers. Establishing an HRA through PrimePay is a creative way of funding health care, especially while rates continue to climb”, Jacoby said.

Because PrimePay has in-house experts and resources on these plans, partnering with them is a great way for UBS to gain confidence and education in the solutions they provide to their clients.

UBS places tremendous value on fostering long-term relationships with clients. They do so by helping design benefits programs that go beyond health coverage and become tools to help businesses attract and retain great talent. Through the placement of: life, dental, group disability insurance as well as HSAs, UBS positions itself as an extension of their clients’ human resources department.

To learn more about United Benefit Solutions, click here.

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With so many innovative products to recommend, regulations and compliance issues, there is a need for Jacoby and his employees to actively pursue educational opportunities. Because they do, they’re able to be successful and win the trust of their clients and outpace the competition.

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“They’re nice people and they have a good product at a good price. The rep I work with is very responsive and it’s very important to have his support. [PrimePay] is accountable with what they do,” said Jacoby.

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