James Schlueter, president of the Network, noted, “This is one of the toughest and most competitive markets we have seen in many years. The soft insurance market and slowing economy is showing few signs of firming; many estimates predict it continuing through 2009. Further, PEO's are taking an ever increasing share of the market traditionally held by local insurance agents and other business advisors. Subsequently competition to retain and attract clients has never been tougher. The Total HR Network is aimed at giving a powerful edge to the local producer.
“There may not be much we can do about the soft market,” said Schlueter. “There is, however, a great deal we can do to respond to the changing competitive environment that is evolving today. There is a fundamental shift occurring within our primary client base. Small and mid-sized employers, which comprise at least 70% of America’s workforce, have seen a threefold increase in governmental regulation. Combined with the softening economy and tightening workforce, employers are looking for ways to make their business more efficient. Subsequently, they are responding to services that offer the promise of being able to better allocate their time so they can focus on building their business rather than managing mundane HR issues and dealing with multiple vendors,” said Schlueter.
According to Schlueter, “With gross revenues of $61 billion in 2007, PEO’s are growing at a rate of 20% per year. PEO’s are eating the traditional workers’ compensation and employee benefits market because they offer a one-stop shop for overburdened employers. To the employer that is finding over 25% of their time being consumed by extraneous management issues, time is becoming more important than money. That’s why PEO’s that offer everything from administering the payroll and paying employment related taxes, to employment liability, risk management, recruiting, providing health benefits, and securing workers’ compensation coverage are being responded to favorably by our traditional clients. Business owners are willing pay a premium the for time savings PEO’s offer.
“At the end of the day,” said Schlueter, “those producers that recognize this shift and respond proactively will find not only effective client retention rates, but new business growth as well. Those that don’t, will find a shrunken market even when the soft market eventually begins to firm.”
James Harwood, COO of the Network, added, “The Total HR Network is a vehicle for local insurance producers and other business advisors to gain the resources of a total outsourced HR service (PEO) without diluting their primary business line. The Network effectively carves out the local agent’s business line from the Network service and wraps the rest of the package around their service. Thus, the employer gains the benefit of the PEO, while being able to maintain the trusted relationship they developed with the local agent over the years. What’s more, the producer keeps their primary business while gaining an entire new source of commissionable revenue that in all likelihood will double their income. Everyone wins.”