Understanding Your Options
Stop Pulling Your Hair Out & Change Your Buying Strategy
To put it bluntly, Insurance is a commodity. The plans and pricing are the same regardless of who represents your organization. Sending multiple brokers to quote your benefits each year creates an environment where brokers spend the majority of their time focused on how to beat their competition and not on what is best for you and your organization.
Interview brokers & consultants outside of your annual renewal period and ask them the following questions:
- Why do our costs increase continually?
- How can you decrease those costs or improve the benefits?
- Can we speak to other employers who have experienced those results?
Once you’ve conducted these interviews that have focused strictly on strategy, select one firm to represent your organization. Any broker who offers to quote your benefits without having you as a client should raise suspicion. If you choose them this year, next year they’ll be out there offering to work for free for even more non-clients which takes away from time spent working on behalf of your company.
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen Spoils the Broth. This is true for insurance as well. Choose a broker partner and let only that broker present your business to the market.
It is not uncommon for employers to offer one set of benefits through a broker, and another set of benefits through a different broker or carrier rep. The most common occurrence is having one broker to manage your “Core Employee Benefits” like Medical, Dental, Vision, Employer Paid Life, STD, LTD, etc. and a separate broker/carrier rep to manage your “Enhanced Benefits” like Accident, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity, etc.
In this scenario the representatives from each brokerage or carrier likely don’t have a comprehensive understanding of the entire benefit portfolio. Employees miss an opportunity to understand how all of their benefits, both employer and employee paid, work in concert to build a program that fits their needs.
The lack of coordinated benefits can result in unintentional over-insuring, unnecessary over-spending for you and your employees, and also creates disruption and stress both in the workplace and at home. Fortunately, this is easily corrected by choosing a single brokerage to represent all of your benefits.
What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You – Understand the Markets
Many insurance brokers would prefer that employers see their employee benefits as an enigma and not truly a controllable expense. If that were the case the barrier to become an insurance broker would be far higher than a one-week course that you can take online.
As an employer you should demand a baseline understanding of the pro’s and con’s of the various markets available to you for purchasing health insurance. Since all of the markets are the same regardless of the broker, you should be focusing on finding a firm who can take you from the market you are currently in to the markets that you want to access that you probably don’t even know about.
You would be shocked how many of our new clients are able to generate significant savings simply by looking at a market they’ve been able to access for years that their previous broker overlooked or simply refused to evaluate.
Judging a Book By It’s Cover – Better Delivery of Benefits
For most small employers, the HR department and broker are typically tasked with the distribution of information, implementation of open enrollment, and execution of employee elections.
It happens far too often that insurance education & enrollment consists of voluntary all-staff meetings; or worse, emails or memos that go unread. Making matters worse is the incredible number of employers who are still executing this process manually using paper. In today’s world there is no excuse for not using online benefit platforms even if this still requires a personal touch in the first year.
By adopting the Counselor Assisted Enrollment process used by most voluntary benefits carriers it is possible to conduct 1 on 1 enrollments with your workforce, allowing you to use that opportunity to move your benefits administration online, and deliver a first-class benefit buying experience for your employees. This will make your employees happier and will present your company in the most professional manner possible.