By Jalisa Clark and Christine Monahan
As another Marketplace Open Enrollment Period begins, millions of Americans will turn to insurance brokers to guide them to affordable and comprehensive insurance plans. However, a 2022 survey shows that the population brokers serve is overwhelmingly white; nearly half of health insurance brokers self-reported that their client base is comprised of 5 percent or fewer Black clients, while 70 percent reported a client base with 5 percent or fewer Asian clients and 43 percent reported serving 5 percent or fewer Hispanic clients. The composition of the broker profession is majority white as well. Currently, every nonwhite racial group is underrepresented in the broker industry. For example, despite comprising 13.5 percent of the U.S. population, Black individuals account for only 9.3 percent of all brokers.
Underrepresentation of both brokers and clients of color can be partly attributed to the history of racial discrimination and exclusion in the insurance industry. From 19th-century Jim Crow discriminatory policies to the proliferation of algorithmic racism, the insurance industry designed policies to deny, overcharge, and exclude people of color.
In a new post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Jalisa Clark and Christine Monahan describe the historical origins of current disparities in the broker profession and discuss how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces are intervening. The authors highlight state-based Marketplace efforts to foster the development of more brokers of color and ensure brokers are equitably serving the diverse populations in their state. You can read the full post here.