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How to Enter the Group Market

By Scott Southward

If you’re thinking of offering specialized advice, the group market may be for you. Group advisors have a wonderful opportunity to help employers give employees and their families improved health and financial security.

Group advisors are paid by recurring revenue that allows you to build a healthy and predictable cash flow base. Often the majority of the work and client relationship is established with a business owner, plan administrator, or a human resources or finance professional, and yet coverage is for the entire group. This is much more efficient for an enterprising advisor than trying to secure the commitment of each employee individually.

Of course, long-term relationships aren’t built overnight. If you are looking to break into the group benefits world, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Make group your focus.
  2. When Billi Moyer of Moyer Consulting Group struck out on her own, it was a no-brainer to focus exclusively on benefits. As she says, “I have business referred to me frequently by other practitioners who know I won’t touch their area of expertise, and I am able to use my deep expertise to deliver value far beyond seeking a low price.”

    Simon Reyers has taken a similar approach to launching his benefit practice. “When you tell a customer or prospect all the things you don’t do, you become more credible and trustworthy when you tell them where you can help,” he says.

  3. Partner up.
  4. If you do not see yourself specializing in group benefits but see the value and rewards, consider partnering with someone who is group focused and work out a partnership arrangement. Chad Tranter is a financial planning specialist whose expertise has allowed him to form strong relationships with several business owners. Tranter forged a partnership with Michael Wortsman of The Employee Benefits Company that allowed him to advise clients in the group benefits space. 

  5. Learn and seek mentors.
  6. If your preference is to be more of a generalist, many resources are available to help you break into the group benefits market. For instance, the Advocis Group Insurance Certificate Program would complement many other areas of study you may wish to pursue. There are several seminars, breakfast meetings, and forums organized by a variety of independent bodies, insurers, or third-party administrators. Additionally, there are several knowledgeable and credible advisors who are eager and willing to act as mentors to folks of all ages who are exploring breaking into the group benefit market.

Scott Southward is a managing partner at BBD, an administered benefits agency. He can be reached at scott.southward@bbd.ca.

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