Building Business with Voluntary Plans


Todd Cowan

Despite millions of newly insured entering the market in 2014, agents saw their commissions continue to decline. As a result, the once-underappreciated voluntary benefits line of business now holds a new appeal for its ability to offset medical losses and create new revenue streams. Expanding portfolios to include voluntary plans can also alleviate the instability in sales cycles created by open enrollment periods. Success lies in three primary activities:

  • Cross-selling: Existing customers should be the first stop when it comes to expanding into the voluntary market. Create cross-selling opportunities by working with clients to identify and close coverage gaps by asking a mix of open and closed questions designed to gain a better understanding of new and existing needs that can be met with one or more voluntary plans.
  • Increasing customer loyalty: Voluntary benefits can also be leveraged to improve customer retention and loyalty. For example, employer loyalty can be strengthened by addressing the insurance pain points that are negatively impacting employee satisfaction. Educating employers on how voluntary benefits can help fill the coverage gaps created by efforts to reign in costs or the decision to stop offering employer-sponsored coverage in favor of exchange policies (a message that also resonates with individuals) will deliver back to the agent the loyalty that comes with a trusted, consultative relationship.
  • Breaking into new markets: Introducing new sources of revenue—voluntary plans—and adapting to new sales processes can also increase earning potential by opening the door to a new base of customers in the group and individual markets. In particular, newly insured and those who are new to individual coverage are a rich source of prospects in need of voluntary plans to fill newly discovered needs.

Guided by these sales strategies, agents and brokers can leverage the power of voluntary plans to inject new life into sales and shore up sagging profitability by opening new markets and opportunities.  Visit us at