At Zenefits: A 20th Century Broker Looks at the Brave New Broker World

December 20, 2017

Category: Zenefits

New Horizon for Insurance Brokers

As someone who has made their living selling health insurance for over 40 years, I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to observe what some might say are revolutionary changes in the health insurance industry.

PPOs, HMOs, HSAs, FSAs, the ACA, and many other noteworthy advances, developments, and inventions all unfolded before these very eyes. I implemented all of them in my agencies, was governed by the demand for them and was tasked to teach them to my employees and explain and sell them to my clients. And while each seemingly unpassable advancement in cost savings outdid the previous one, there is always another amazing advancement lurking around the corner to outshine the previous miracle. And so, it continues today in this brave new world.

The thrust for the 21st century change incorporates digital software as a platform to centralize both employee records and minimize repetitive recordkeeping tasks. What didn’t exist 10 years ago for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, now is a burgeoning industry whose goals are as common as saving business owners time and money. As one of the largest and oldest pioneers in this new field, Zenefits has led in developing process systems for onboarding employees, ACA compliance, HR advice, benefits management, payroll, and mobile phone support.

Moving forward into this new world, today’s brokers are being required to retrain, relearn, adopt, and translate client demands into new revenue streams. Today’s broker must understand and incorporate technology into every client conversation. Even the daily schedule of today’s broker must be supplemented with virtual meetings, video, and webinar assistance. Brokers must find ways to improve their limited client-facing time available by every electronic means possible.

The new year promises industry changes as well. With the merger of Aetna and CVS, more pressure will be exerted on the dynamics of carrier consolidation. More carrier efforts will be made to extract savings from network contracting and limited formularies. Legislative movements to repeal portions of the ACA will also create upheavals in local markets. The individual health markets must improve going forward as the need is great and there is no solution currently viable.

As we prepare to embark on the new year, Zenefits has a promising future ahead. Fresh off a well-executed transition from digital broker to prime provider of HCM software to the clients of the health industry’s top insurance agencies, this pivot will enable major insurance agencies in all parts of the U.S. to become Certified Broker Partners. As sales expand and grow from these new partners, Zenefits will continue to develop, expand, and improve its HCM offerings in areas such as wellness, performance management, education services, and metrics.

Zenefits is poised to take advantage of the new year cleared of all previous challenges. With an excellent C-Suite in place, the company is well led and organized with definite, attainable goals. The combined experience and leadership of Jay Fulcher CEO along with the organization and customer service skills of COO Jeff Carr make this Zenefits leadership team unstoppable.

As one who has dealt with change throughout my professional career, the new year promises more of the same. As the new Tax Bill, continued modifications (and hopefully improvements) of the ACA, more consolidation from within as the largest companies seek cost reduction through mergers take effect, along with many technology improvements in how we do business in the world of work, our lives will continue to change and improve for the better.

Our CEO led off the Zenefits Culture Conference in September with the quote, “May you live in interesting times” ..We are!


Bud Bowlin ran his own benefits agency for over 15 years and was regional manager at Rogers Benefit Group for over 20 years. Combined with time in the military and law enforcement, Bud has an expansive career of serving others. Having just celebrated his 72nd birthday, Bud is now focused on the Zenefits transition from being a digital broker to being a world-class provider of HCM SaaS software to companies. He has never felt younger.

Category: Zenefits

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