Benefit Broker Q&A Series: How Technology is Transforming The Horton Group from Sales to Recruitment

This is the third in a series of posts where we highlight leading benefits brokers and hear their thoughts about the industry and their partnership with Zenefits.

Last year, Zenefits announced the addition of The Horton Group to an expanded Certified Broker Partner (CBP) program, a nationwide network of forward-thinking benefits and insurance consulting firms. As we build strong and lasting connections with our CBP partners through frequent conversations, we’re thrilled to learn about the success The Horton Group has seen throughout this past year.

The Horton Group is a nationally recognized insurance broker and the largest insurance, employee benefits and risk advisory firm in the Midwest, with 400 insurance professionals located in 13 offices. Headquartered in Orland Park, Illinois, the firm helps its small and mid-sized business clients with complex needs and limited resources to reduce cost, workload, and risk by delivering lower insurance rates, easier programs to administer and happier employees.

We interviewed Ken Olson, President of The Horton Group’s Benefits Solutions division, to learn how his firm has evolved and adapted to the changing benefit broker industry.

Technology is digitally transforming companies and firms across every industry. How do you see technology evolving the benefits broker community? 

It’s true. We’re definitely seeing technology completely disrupt our industry, but for good. When we first heard about Zenefits entering the benefits market, we pushed back hard out of concern on how it would completely change the industry. After we heard that Zenefits was not out to replace us but rather enable us with industry-leading technology, our attitudes completely shifted.

We decided to give Zenefits a chance. It was worth it. The technology worked. It was simple, and it completely opened our eyes to the world of human capital management (HCM) software.

How has The Horton Group transformed since joining Zenefits’ CBP program? What have you learned so far? 

We had a record-breaking year in 2019, with more sales than ever. While not directly tied to the partnership, there is a strong correlation between our adoption of technology, specifically joining Zenefits’ CBP program, and our recent growth.

After partnering with Zenefits, our firm entered conversations with potential clients prepared with a deeper understanding of their overall HR needs. It’s no longer enough to have a siloed conversation around benefits. Brokers also need to understand the fundamentals of HCM systems. After working with Zenefits, our team at the Horton Group got just that. Our tech-first approach allows us to more efficiently and effectively address clients’ benefits needs from the start.

What other unique advantages have The Horton Group developed from a deeper understanding of technology? 

The number of tech-based companies are on the rise, especially in our area. We couldn’t possibly enter conversations with this new generation of digital-native leaders with paper-driven, antiquated processes and spreadsheets. These tech-first companies expect quick results, smart collaboration, instant insight, and digital-first approaches. If we want to see success with today’s newest businesses, we must speak their language. Luckily, we’ve trained and enabled our teams to address these technology needs.

Even more than attracting new business, recruiting talent has become more difficult than ever. Let’s face it, insurance isn’t the most exciting profession out there. As an industry late to tech adoption, the broker community has struggled to attract younger talent. Today’s workforce expects their employers to be mobile-first and tech-powered. Unlike our counterparts, a majority of our current talent is under the age of 35. That’s an impressive feat. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have a tech-first approach at our firm. We’ve hired smart individuals who crave technology and have a deep interest in learning more about the insurance and benefits industry.

To learn more about Zenefits’ Certified Broker Partner program, visit our website here.

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