Realogy’s nascent benefits program is expanding to the company’s entire roll of agents, the real estate holding company announced Monday.
Spark, an agent member association, will give agents access to “individual healthcare, disability insurance, life insurance, auto and home insurance, identity theft protection, human resources solutions, workers’ compensation insurance and commercial property or building insurance,” according to Realogy.
Agents — who are typically independent contractors — can opt into and sign up for whichever benefits suit their specific needs, through membership to Spark.
“We understand that many real estate agents find themselves without health insurance coverage because of limited options and high costs,” John Peyton, Realogy Franchise Group’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “After seeing such a positive response when Spark launched to agents affiliated with our company-owned offices, we’re proud to offer this comprehensive benefits program to the more than 130,000 additional agents affiliated with Realogy’s U.S. franchise brands.”
In addition to offering agents a host of benefits, Spark offers access to a risk management, due diligence and agent safety app. It also provides agents an exclusive benefits counselor to guide them and their families through the process of obtaining benefits.
Approximately 86 percent of Realtors in the United States are independent contractors, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), meaning that, in a land where employer-based health insurance reigns, most Realtors and agents are left to fend for themselves finding health care in the open market.
NAR also found that 14 percent of agents don’t have health insurance at all, and 57 percent found their coverage is too expensive, according to its 2018 member profile.
Despite a Trump administration ruling last year that paved the way for association health plans, NAR hasn’t been able to create a national solution for its members. However, local associations have begun working on solutions.
Realogy has long provided agents with a healthcare option, but Spark improves those options and adds a bevy of other services.
“SPARK is designed to support the independent real estate agent,” Scott Reid, national membership director of Spark Association of Real Estate Professionals. “Our members are our number one priority.”
“We strive to provide best-in-class services and benefits that enhance our member’s lives both on a personal and professional level,” Reid added. “We look forward to working with all the Realogy brands and their agents to help support their successful careers as real estate professionals.”