How To Become a Benefits Broker (Plus Duties and Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A benefits broker is a professional in the insurance industry who helps companies identify the best coverage for their employees. This can be a great career path for professionals with a background in the insurance industry who want to specialize in their careers.

In this article, we explore the career of a benefits broker, including their job duties and the steps for becoming one.

What is a benefits broker?

A benefits broker is an insurance broker who specializes in helping companies organize their employee benefits. These professionals often work with various types of businesses and spend much of their time communicating with clients and insurance providers to create the best possible plans.

Many benefits brokers focus on goals like securing specific benefits that employees request, saving companies money and educating companies about different types of employee benefits. To do their job well, benefits brokers typically need strong communication, problem-solving, customer service, negotiation and organizational skills.

Related: Is Insurance Sales a Good Career? (With Pros, Cons and Tips)

What does a benefits broker do?

Here are a few of the most common job duties for a benefits broker:

  • Informing companies about different options for employee benefits plans

  • Identifying insurance plans that offer the best coverage for employees

  • Meeting with company and HR leaders to learn about a company's benefits needs

  • Providing compliance resources to educate employees

  • Helping companies enroll in new employee benefits plans

  • Organizing coverage from various providers into comprehensive benefits plans

  • Conducting research on employee benefits and trends in HR across different industries

  • Developing materials to distribute to employees, like informational pamphlets and letters about new policies

  • Negotiating with insurance providers to secure the best coverage and price for a company

  • Offering advice about human capital and how to support it within an organization through HR

Related: A Complete Guide to Employee Benefits Consulting: Duties, Salaries and Skills

How does a benefits broker help an organization?

There are many ways that a benefits broker can help an organization, such as helping it identify the best coverage for employees. This can help a company function effectively by increasing employee satisfaction, which can help improve performance. A benefits broker can also benefit a company by finding ways for it to minimize expenses, as these brokers often have access to many types of insurance coverage that they can organize into packages to save companies money.

Another benefit to using a benefits broker is that they can provide guidance on various aspects of insurance aside from simply securing coverage, such as informing employees about compliance and helping with open enrollment.

How to become a benefits broker

Here are some steps you can follow to become a benefits broker:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

The first step you can take toward becoming a benefits broker is earning a bachelor's degree, as many insurance companies use this as their minimum education requirement for brokers. Since benefits brokers can work with various types of companies in different industries, most candidates pursue degrees in business to prepare for this career. This can introduce you to different types of businesses and allow you to explore how they operate, which can help you identify effective insurance plans for similar companies later in your career.

You can also major in a closely related major, like human resources or finance, as long as you take courses in general business.

Related: 10 Types of Business Majors and the Differences Between Them

2. Gain professional experience

Once you graduate from college, start building professional experience. Since benefits brokers work with companies as clients and specialize in finding the best insurance policies for employees, it can be most beneficial to get experience in the insurance or human resources industries. This can allow you to develop key skills that can help you in your career later, such as how to provide efficient support to human resources departments and how to conduct professional and positive interactions with clients.

It can also be helpful to think about the types of companies you might want to work with in the future. This can guide you in applying to companies that align with your goals. For example, if you primarily want to help companies in the retail industry, you might look for entry-level jobs that allow you to work with local, national and global brands.

Related: Insurance Jobs: Types, Salaries and Duties

3. Secure a license

Another key part of preparing to be a benefits broker is getting a broker license. This is because most states require insurance brokers in any specialty to have licenses before they can work in the field. While the exact requirements and steps for securing licensure can vary depending on which state you live in, most states grant licensure to candidates once they verify an expert-level knowledge of insurance and pass an exam.

The information that a broker exam covers can also vary depending on the state in which the candidate lives. However, most ask questions about subjects like how to process insurance claims, which regulations apply to selling certain types of insurance and what terms are essential to know when working with various types of insurance.

4. Apply for jobs as a benefits broker

Once you have a broker license, you can start applying for jobs as a benefits broker. Most benefits brokers work for insurance companies or brokerages that specialize in offering employee benefits plans.

If you currently work at an insurance agency, you might ask your supervisor about ways you can advance to a benefits broker position. Another way to find open jobs is to conduct research on insurance companies in your area to determine who might be hiring. You can also look online using job search websites or general search engines.

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