What is the difference between an employee benefits broker, consultant and advisor?
There are three terms to describe the professionals that help your company with its benefits programs that have come to be used interchangeably in the market: Employee Benefits Broker, Employee Benefits Consultant, and Employee Benefits Advisor. Here is some insight into the similarities, and differences between these titles.
Traditionally, a consultant works on a fee for service, and a broker works for commission. However, many brokers now work on fees and many consultants will work for commission. “Advisor” has now become a popular moniker for benefits professionals to connote a strategic, advisory orientation towards clients versus “brokering business” which historically means “shopping for coverage.” An advisor is branding themselves more like a consultant, but it does not give any clue as to what they do, how they do it or how they get paid – you need to figure this out!
A key to understanding all of this name confusion is that it is the broker, consultant or advisor who gets to choose what they are called, there are no rules governing this decision.
Here is the bottom line: When you are looking to hire a broker, consultant or advisor our recommendation is to ignore the title and instead focus on three things: What do they do, how do they do it, and how they get paid. And a friendly reminder, our easy to use platform will easily help you understand these three things and hire the right benefits firm for your needs.