While many have predicted a diminishing role for brokers, in reality, the opposite appears to be coming true. The Healthcare Trends Institute reports that Aflac’s recent survey indicates broker confidence is up, revenues are increasing and they are embracing new ways to fuel continued growth. As health insurers continue to partner with brokers as well as sell directly to employers and consumers, they must also embrace the complexity that goes with the territory.

At GetInsured, we believe that few business models address as many relationships as health insurance: business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-employer (B2B), and broker-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C). This presents a variety of challenges to insurers as they move toward e-commerce for their commercial business.

The B2C scenario is very similar to most other e-commerce industries, such as retail shopping.  The most common scenario, B2B, includes most Americans, who get their insurance through their employers. In the most complex scenario, B2B2C, insurers work through brokers to support sales to employers and sometimes to individual consumers. In all these cases, insurers can leverage their private exchange to facilitate interactions with consumers and members as well as streamline administration tasks for insurer staff, employers and brokers. Rather than shifting away from brokers, we believe insurers will continue to partner with this important channel.

Insurers also face new challenges as more Americans migrate away from group coverage into the individual and retiree markets, especially in the small employer group segment. A private exchange can help make the transition smooth for consumers and efficient for the insurer and down the chain to broker and employer staff.