I really enjoy the new DirecTV commercials — the ones where we have the regular, good-looking Rob Lowe discussing the virtues of DirecTV, and then we have the hairy/shy/meathead Rob Lowe who, of course, has cable. No matter how many times I watch them, I end up smiling.

The commercials also got me thinking about how similar the insurance broker community is to the Rob Lowes. On one hand you have the good broker — genuinely looking out for his client’s best interests, working hard, doing the right thing, and generally ensuring that the client has the best possible experience. On the other hand, you have various shades of weirdness that would make those commercial-makers proud!

Over the past year with Gravie, we have come across both those types. Every now and then we’ll come across genuinely good and competent brokers. Usually we end up partnering with these brokers to create a win-win solution for their clients. Sadly, the majority of the brokers that we come across are in the other category — the not-so-cool Rob Lowes.

Here are some examples:

  • A broker approached us and said that Gravie would be a perfect fit for several of his clients. As we got into discussions, the conversation soon turned towards what “his take” would be. He refused to make his client aware of our solution unless we paid the fees he was demanding.
  • We had a broker who told a prospective employer that what he was doing for his employees with Gravie “was illegal” and warned of all sorts of dire consequences. Unfortunately for him, this employer also happened to be my friend and brought this to our attention. After a phone call from our attorneys, he apologized…and then we got an inquiry from his firm asking if they could partner with us!
  • We met with the CFO of one of the largest insurance brokerage houses in the country to explore a potential partnership. After hearing that we were focused on serving small and medium sized companies, he turned his nose up at us, saying that he had no interest in the “bottom-end of the market.” Very odd, given that more Americans work for small and mid-sized businesses with less than 500 workers (58 million employed) than large companies with more than 5,000 workers (40 million employed). This disregard for small businesses is one we have seen time and time again amongst larger insurance brokerages.

In any industry, if the wellbeing of your customer isn’t the foremost thing on your mind, you are probably not going to be in business very long. Unfortunately, due to the complexities and inefficiencies in the health insurance industry, many brokers have thrived without really doing what they should be doing for their customers. Their time, however, is up.

I want to emphasize that there are many good brokers out there, who genuinely want to do right by their customers. If you are one of them, call us. We may be able to help. If you are a “hairy-armed/painfully shy/meathead” broker, here’s a shot across the bow. We will see you in the marketplace!

— Abir Sen, CEO

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