Senior Health Insurance Sales Representatives See Robust Pay Increases, According to BDO Report

Madeline O’Connor
Bliss Integrated Communication
(646) 576-4113
[email protected]


Companies Put Higher Value on Senior Sales Roles as Health Insurance Complexities Rise


Chicago, IL –Base salaries for senior sales representatives increased by an annualized rate of six percent over the last five years, elevating salaries nearly 20 percent over that time period; much higher than that of non-sales positions, according to a new BDO USA, LLP, report.
The 2018/2019 Health Insurance Sales Compensation and Plan Design Trends Report, which will be available in January, looks at five-year pay, performance and plan design trends for health insurance sales representatives and account managers. The report analyzes and summarizes data from the last five years of the annual Health Insurance Sales Force Compensation Survey. This survey provides companies with valuable pay and performance information about the industry, enabling effective benchmarking of compensation and benefits programs. The 2018 survey was published in August.
The report found that total cash compensation for senior sales representatives is more in line with general pay increases over the five-year period, rising by 2.3 percent on an annualized basis. Junior sales representatives have seen salary increases more in line with overall salary trends as well.
“Strong salary increases for senior-level positions reflect a fierce competition for talent in a rapidly changing marketplace that is adding new complexities to the sales process,” said Judy Canavan, managing director and leader of BDO’s Compensation Surveys practice. “We’re seeing many industries, including healthcare, put a higher value on customer-facing positions in recent years, recognizing the important role those employees have on influencing sales and shaping brand perceptions.”
The report highlights key compensation trends over the last five years, including:

  • A quantifiable pay-for-performance relationship for sales representatives.

  • Sales representatives earn higher salaries from (a) selling to or managing larger accounts and (b) selling health insurance products rather than only specialty products.

  • The pay mix for junior sales representatives has changed the most, with the use of incentive pay increasing.

  • The use of both commission and sales bonus plans for sales jobs is decreasing, with more companies sticking to a single strategy.

  • Senior account management representatives receive the highest total compensation when compared against senior representatives in new sales roles and in hybrid sales and account management roles. This follows logically because they tend to work with major, national, and large accounts.

“Understanding compensation trends within the industry is a useful guide for informing pay strategies, but when designing plans, it is critical to evaluate how it supports the organization’s unique sales strategy and pay philosophy,” added Canavan.
*Material discussed is meant to provide general information and should not be acted on without professional advice tailored to your firm’s individual needs.
About BDO’s 2018/2019 Health Insurance Sales Compensation and Plan Design Trends Report
The 2018/2019 Health Insurance Sales Compensation and Plan Design Trends Report  highlights notable five-year trends in compensation levels, along with the design and use of incentive plans and other compensation arrangements. It explores pay-for-performance relationships that are fundamental to developing effective sales incentives plans.
The Trends Report is based on our annual Health Insurance Sales Force Compensation Survey. The annual survey (the most recent published in August of 2018) gathers compensation levels for 1,900 positions, collected from 27 health insurance organizations.

About BDO’s Global Employer Services Practice
BDO’s Global Employer Services practice consists of an experienced and dedicated team of professionals who are committed to assisting leadership and boards in developing strategies and compensation programs designed to attract, retain, and reward employee teams. Our services include designing and benchmarking compensation programs, including cash- and equity-based programs, board remuneration, compensation committee development, nonqualified and deferred compensation plans, advice on tax and accounting issues, and other related services. Our services are tailored and scalable and designed to fit the unique needs of public, private, and nonprofit clients of all sizes and across all industries, including multinational Fortune 500 companies.
About BDO
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