UBA – “David” Outshines the Goliath Brokers on the Web

Now my final site for this first group of posts – United Benefit Advisors (UBA). The only overall “4” ranking I gave. They are the David among the Goliaths here with a focus, plan and strong local focus.

I am sure many of you readers from the large firms reviewed here are snickering at this comparison but be sure you read what is said here in its entirety.

Comparing UBA directly to all the largest US brokerage firms is impossible on one level – size – but very realisitic in terms of how an employer, looking for a real partner to help them would view them and their “local offices” or member firms.

Even Aon and Marsh have new initiatives in the mid market and most of the other firms all compete already in the 50-3000 employer space.  That is HRH’s sweetspot for Willis as well.

The reason I included them is that their firms compete solely in the employee benefits part of the business. Some are very small, most are mid sized and a few are larger. How each member firm’s expertise stacks up to all the other benefits brokers in their markets I cannot say but their local approach online is much more friendly and engaging than the Borg-like websites of the national brands.

To start with UBA describes themselves in a different and interesting way:

“Shared Wisdom. Powerful Results.”

“..a unique community of nearly 140 of the most successful and most trusted independent employee benefits advisory firms in North America…”

Unlike any of the other broker websites their “corporate” site exists to promote their local member’s presence and expertise. How do I get referrals to the right member as fast as possible – not let me tell you all about me then make you search all over our site for a local office. They are everything an NFP is not.

Their site is clear on UBA’s mission -the value they add for firms. If a prospect clicks on the UBA logo on a member’s website they see exactly the value adds that they will get from their local broker being part of this organization. For example The lead item on their site is also employer focused and forward thinking:

Electronic Distribution of SPDs and other Participant Communications:
As e-mail, IM, and Twitter become the norm, and with “green” being the color of the day, benefit plan sponsors and administrators are naturally interested in meeting their participant communication obligations via electronic means. Unfortunately, the applicable statutes and regulations have not kept up with reality.

Their local firms have some of the best websites we have reviewed  – and a great many that are not – but at least the main UBA site gets a well informed viewer delivered to the local “door” – that is their job or reinforces what they saw on the local site in terms of the tools they provide customers. At that point the local firm has to be ready to deliver.

This type of umbrella site to a nice local web presence is the way all the large firms sites should operate to help drive business locally and raise their web visibility locally.

Don’t laugh – more UBA firms are in the top 10 in their local market on Google than any of the national firms.

Per the BI survey this is still a relationship business done at a local level and technology levels the playing field even more…

Tomorrow – “Googleability

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