Walk the Talk
Zenefits and OneDigital recently announced that they are forging a new, unprecedented partnership that will give clients access to leading technology and advisory services. We chatted with Zenefits’ vice president of carrier relations Colin Rogers about what made Zenefits change its tune on brokers, how the company will continue to evolve and what makes OneDigital special.
[Editor’s note: If you missed our conversation with Mike Sullivan, chief growth officer of OneDigital, check it out.]
As we started to serve larger companies, we found that the relationship aspect of brokering was a critical component that our model just didn’t address well. When you move above the 50- or 100-employee mark, depending upon which state you’re in, there is more back and forth in terms of carrier negotiating based on the client’s needs, and there were some gaps that couldn’t fully be incorporated into the technology. We began to understand that if we really wanted to continue to serve [our clients] in the best possible way, we would eventually have to work with local brokers.
We still believe strongly in this model, but experience has taught us that we need to be flexible and adapt to what customers are telling us. We evolved from the anti-broker sentiment of the early days to focus on what is the absolute best client experience, which is the combination of our leading technology and local presence of experienced brokers—that is what the market really wants, especially outside of the small group segment.
We began looking at progressive, national footprint brokerages who had some like-minded thinking around how technology could accelerate and enhance the client experience and who were very rooted in the local presence and knowledge. Looking at the challenge through that lens, one organization quickly stood out, OneDigital.
The second piece of the equation is the go-forward approach, driven by our Certified Broker program, of which OneDigital is the first partner. The approach is to combine best-in-class technology and best-in-class local knowledge and brokering experience and being able to say to a client, “Hey, we’re in a position now where we can offer you the software, we can offer you the local presence that our previous model didn’t necessarily support, and we can bring that to you flexibly depending on your geography and what size group you are. And in the future, we will expand that channel beyond just OneDigital. There will be potentially a selection of partners based on whatever MSA [metropolitan statistical area] you happen to reside in as a small or mid-size business.
We don’t think anyone has optimized this experience between broker and tech anywhere in the 50 to 500 marketplace and that is what we are trying to deliver by partnering with progressive brokers like OneDigital.