Half of the executives who participated in Eastbridge’s Voluntary/Worksite Marketing: An Executive Perspective report indicated that ACA has had a “very positive” (7 percent) or “positive” (43 percent) effect. However, 39 percent of the carriers are unsure and 11 percent believe that ACA has had a negative impact on their voluntary sales. Overall, carriers with higher voluntary sales in 2014 are more positive about ACA’s impact on their voluntary sales than carriers with lower sales numbers.
Executives were also asked to reflect on the importance of private exchanges on their voluntary sales efforts today and five years from now. Currently, just under 40 percent believe that private exchanges are “very important” or “important.” However, executives believe that private exchanges will become more important to their voluntary sales efforts in the next five years. Specifically, 54 percent believe exchanges will be “more important” and 39 percent “a little more important.” None of the executives surveyed believe that the importance of private exchanges will stay the same or decline in five years’ time.
The study also found that the executives believe defined contribution plans will create value in terms of voluntary sales. Twenty-five (25) percent indicated that defined contribution plans will be “a little more important,” 50 percent believe these will be “more important,” and seven (7) percent believe the plans will be “much more important” in the next five years. Again, none of the respondents believe that defined contribution will decline in importance.
In light of ACA and the exchange environment, executives were asked this year how they believe the broker role will change in the next five years. The top four changes they listed include: “fewer in-person enrollments,” “more consultative role with the employer,” “lowering of commissions,” and “decreased interaction with the employees.” The two “Other” comments were “anticipated movement to levelized compensation” and “a more platform-focused solution selling” versus a pure broker/distribution role.
The Voluntary/Worksite Marketing: An Executive Perspective Frontline™ Report tracks the executives’ thoughts and insights on the obstacles facing the industry today as well as what they might expect for the future. The survey also explores the executives’ opinions on other topics based on market trends. The first survey was conducted in 2003 and subsequent surveys have been conducted every two years. This year’s report summarizes the responses from 28 key executives and, where appropriate, notes any trends or changes from the last study’s findings.
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Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada.