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It’s been a perfect storm for agents and brokers selling health plans to small businesses, Florida’s economic lifeblood. The worst economic downturn since the great depression, the uncertainty of health care reform, and the ever-rising cost of care have converged to create a difficult selling landscape. There are emerging opportunities, however, that can help ease the strained small group sales environment. To benefit, brokers and agents need to understand these factors and communicate them effectively to current and prospective small group customers.

Premium Relief Is on the Way When the cost of services and member utilization spiked a few years ago it was hard for pricing to keep up. That led to major rate increases and a very difficult market for agents. In Florida, we saw average premium increases of 15 percent and higher during 2009 and much of 2010. Many businesses began to drop health insurance as an employee benefit. Decreased employee enrollment also created a compliance dilemma, making it hard for agents to bring in new plan options from other carriers.

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