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How to Leverage AI As a Benefits Broker

How to Leverage AI As a Benefits Broker

The most rapidly emerging technology of today is Generative AI, which is a type of artificial intelligence that uses patterns and algorithms to generate content like text, images, music, audio, and videos. Generative AI can multitask and perform a variety of functions with minimal training. 

With its vast ability to streamline processes, it’s no question that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has permeated and transformed the workplace—but what risks and opportunities does AI offer to brokers? And how can you leverage AI to help you grow and maintain your book of business?   



What Opportunities Does AI Offer to Brokers? 

Ernst & Young, a multinational accounting firm in Nashville, TN, writes that Generative AI presents insurers with an “exceptional opportunity to reinvent themselves and deliver enhanced value to customers, shareholders and society.” 

As a benefits broker, your responsibilities likely include:

  • Increasing benefits participation rates

  • Maintaining client relationships

  • Helping clients process insurance claims 

  • Carrying out administrative tasks 

  • Researching insurance policies

  • Explaining policies to clients

  • Scheduling 

You can leverage AI as a tool to make some of your day-to-day tasks more efficient. According to Writer, generative AI has three key capabilities that enable brokers and insurers to do their jobs more efficiently: the ability to create, the ability to analyze, and the ability to govern. 

  • Create: GenAI can help your team create support content tailored to individual customer’s needs. It can also repurpose existing content for you. 

  • Analyze: GenAI has the ability to quickly analyze large amounts of data, track patterns, and make predictions. If you’re analyzing a specific metric for your business, like benefits participation rates or customer support success, AI may be able to help.    

  • Govern: GenAI can be personalized to your brand, so messaging from your brokerage and responses to customer inquiries are consistent all across the board. It’s likely that your website has the functionality to add a chatbot for customer support. Chatbots can be easily programmed to respond to frequently asked questions. 

Other AI capabilities that may come in handy for brokers include:

  • Language Translation: GenAI can translate complex documents like summary plan descriptions if clients request them. Offering translated versions of benefits information can greatly increase your benefits participation rate. 

  • Text and speech summarization: If you have long conversations or meetings, clients may benefit from a quick recap sent to them immediately after. This builds trust in you as their broker, but may take time out of your day that you don’t have to sacrifice. It will also help you recall important details to follow up with clients. Zoom AI Companion is one example of a virtual assistant that can summarize meetings, ask in-meeting questions, create whiteboards, and even draft emails and feedback! 


Brokers Should Watch Out for Drawbacks to Using Generative AI 

Although AI is a great tool, there are some ways it can harm your business if used incorrectly or without supervision. 

Did you know that a text translated from English to Spanish will likely increase in length by 15 to 25% because Spanish tends to be more detailed and expressive than English? This can make it more difficult for you, or AI, to precisely and accurately replicate a message—especially if it involves the complex benefits jargon found in Summary Plan Descriptions. 

AI may make a small, yet significant translation mistake that changes the entire meaning of an important sentence. As a trusted benefits advisor, you will be on the hook for that mistake, not AI, and it could cause you to lose an employer group. 

The same can happen with a chatbot that is not well-tested. If you plan to use a chatbot, test the system multiple times to ensure it works correctly and answers customer inquiries accurately. 

The same process should apply to any implementation of AI technology in your business. If you plan to use AI for text or speech summarization, test it out a few times to ensure it’s giving you the key takeaways and not leaving out crucial information.   


Best Practices for Generative AI Use in the Workplace

At our most recent Weekdays with Bernie conference, Meredith Box, a representative from Ford Harrison LLP, urged benefits brokers and HR professionals to understand that the responsibility will ultimately fall on them to make ethical choices when using AI. 

She shared the following best practices when it comes to protecting your business and implementing AI:

  • Bring the experts to the table: If you are really unsure about a practice you are seeking to implement, reach out to an employment lawyer or AI expert 

  • Identify AI tools and processes: Develop clearly defined policies and procedures for AI use at your brokerage. 

  • Regularly self-audit and monitor: Test the data and the product on a regular basis, and retain records for evidence.  

  • Conduct audits and self-analyses on a regular basis: Determine if your AI processes have a large negative impact on particular groups of people. 

  • Implement regular user training: This can help ensure all parties involved use AI ethically.  

  • Know the purpose: If you’re going to use AI, have a clear reason for why you’re using it.  

  • Be transparent: If you’re going to use AI to offer client support, inform clients. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the human element is necessary for any AI initiative to be successful. It’s not enough to rely on AI to do your job for you—because it can’t. AI should be used as a tool, rather than a crutch, and it cannot replace the role of a benefits broker.  Any AI use in the workplace will need to be fact-checked and audited regularly to ensure accuracy and compliance.  



Additional Resources: 

  • Brokers’ Corner Podcast—watch and subscribe to the Brokers’ Corner podcast, which dives into the topics that affect your agency and industry and identifies strategies so you can protect and grow your book of business 

  • BerniePortal Brokers’ Council—a council of benefits brokers from across the country that advises BerniePortal on industry concerns, trends, and the ways technology can best support their agency and employer groups 

  • BerniePortal for Brokers—leveraging technology to increase your agency valuation and support your employer groups is easier than ever with BerniePortal’s software solution, built for brokers by brokers


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