Lars Schultz March 16, 2017 6 min read

Are You Working with a Broker or a Consultant?

There is a Difference!

I often hear stories of business owners and CEO’s that have finally had enough of out-of-control health costs. They facegoing from a profitable company to one that is losing money on benefits, and they can’t just continue to send the cost increases to their employees.  How can they fix these issues?

My advice to them is:  Review whether your benefits team operates like a broker or a consultant. 

What is the difference? Here is a comparison of Brokers vs. Consultants:

‘Status Quo’ Benefits Brokers:

‘Forward-Thinking’ Benefits Consultants:

“Shop” insurance every year and facilitate insurance one year at a time. Shop is in quotes as broker compensation programs are designed to retain clients with a carrier regardless of value. This influences many brokers to make the incumbent look best.

Create a 3-5 year plan to suit the needs of the business.

Give limited data on where money is going.

Bring transparency to where money is going.

Provide limited means to control underlying costs.

Return control over costs to the business owners.

Don’t talk about their compensation, or worse, are solely paid on commission. This means more income for them the more rates go up.

Talk about their compensation and are willing to tie compensation to performance.

Advocate cost shifting in the form of increased deductibles and copays when premiums increase.

Provide detailed data driven analysis and actionable insight to help control costs.

Believe costs are dependent on the best offer of the carrier/third party administrator.

Understand improving benefits is the only way to lower costs.

Don't take into account the needs and wants of the employee population when creating a benefits plan.

Make benefits a real attraction and retention tool.


Having a strategic plan for the future is extremely important.  Work with a consultant that has vision and is bringing in new ideas. Steer clear of the tired old ‘showing-up-once a-year-at-renewal-and-handing-over-some-paper’ broker. Business owners should demand more from their benefits partners and the partners should deliver. Find a forward thinking benefits consultant quickly, and leave the broker who is clinging to the past behind!

How does your insurance broker help you?


Lars Schultz

Lars Schultz joined the Hausmann-Johnson Insurance team in 2016 as a benefits consultant with a wealth of knowledge in employee benefits. Lars consults with and advises clients about the design and implementation of their employee benefit programs. His strategic thinking provides clients’ ongoing support to make sure their benefit plan meets their corporate goals and needs. He specializes in manufacturing, hospitality, and agriculture. Lars received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse. He gives back to his community through a variety of different volunteer opportunities including serving as President for Providence HOA, acting as a watchdog volunteer at Horizon Elementary School in Sun Prairie, and teaching religion. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and children, Uli and Otto, and visiting the lake. In the Fall, you can find him cheering on the Badgers and Packers.