What Employers Want From Their Broker

Insurance is changing. And with these changes, Employers are looking to evolve their company’s benefit plans to not only offer the best value available, but also views their employees holistically and sees the need for them to achieve a satisfying work-life harmony. Providing solution based advice for employers can be a valuable benefit should they seek guidance.

Most employers are doing just that. According to insurance giant MetLife’s most recent benefit trends study, at least 81% of employers surveyed say an insurance agent or a broker plays a crucial role when they are developing their benefit plans, and another 75% say a benefits consultant or consulting firm assisted them during their renewal period.

As a guide to benefits advisers, as well as a helpful checklist for employers, MetLife has created a list of 15 areas that employers most often seek advice about from their agents or brokers, along with the percentage that inquiries about those specific benefit areas increased from 2015 to 2016. The areas range from providing global benefit solutions to healthcare reform requirements. The list provides an interesting insight into the changing landscape of employee benefits.

15 Employee Benefit Plan Specifics Companies Most Commonly Seek Advice About

  1. Providing assistance with creating and maintaining an employee benefit handbook: 2015 52% – 2016 62%. Putting together an employee handbook that is comprehensive and informative, yet easy to understand, and keeping it updated as needed, can be a daunting task for any HR department, even those with benefits specialists on staff. An insurance agent or broker can provide valuable guidance about best-practices and effective solutions.
  2. Providing prompt, effective service and answering questions on time: 2015 60% – 2016 68%. Great customer service is one of the keys to a great employee benefit plan. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to spend time on the phone and getting passed around to different departments just to get answers to basic questions about benefits.
  3. Recommending new and innovative benefit solutions: 2015 57% – 2016 65%. This is an important area these days, with so many new solutions coming onto the market, especially for smaller companies with 100 employees or less, towards which a lot of new products are being marketed. New technologies are rapidly changing the way employee benefits are administered.
  4. Recommending cost savings alternatives: 2015 61% – 2016 68%. Everyone is interested in saving money obviously, and an experienced agent or broker can recommend the best values for both employers and employees.
  5. Help with legal, regulatory, and compliance issues: 2015 56% – 2016 64%. With the complexity of the myriad government regulations and new legislation, it doesn’t take much for a company to run afoul of the rules, and incur severe penalties and fines. Professional advice in this area is almost a must.
  6. Providing insights on employee needs and desires for benefits: 2015 53% – 2016 63%. An agent who is experienced in advising on benefit plans for companies in a wide range of industries will be able to help tailor a plan for different types of employees. For instance, companies that hire mostly younger, single people will have different needs than companies that employ mostly older, married individuals.
  7. Reducing the frequency and expense of claims: 2015 56% – 2016 65%. An obvious goal of any employer, there are many ways to achieve it, including employee awareness and educational programs.
  8. Recommending non-medical benefit solutions: 2015 48% – 2016 58%. These are usually preventative programs such as exercise, diet, nutritional, and other health and wellness programs, but also non-traditional medical solutions such chiropractic, massage and aromatherapy, acupuncture, and herbal treatments, among many others.
  9. Advising on employee physical wellbeing strategy: 2015 50% – 2016 60%. This parallels #8 above, but might be considered a more comprehensive, holistic approach encompassing many elements, both physical and mental, leading to total wellbeing.
  10. Advising on employee financial wellbeing strategies: 2015 50% – 2016 60%. Financial stability is actually an important part of a holistic health strategy, as the stress associated with money problems can lead to serious mental and physical illnesses, as well as family issues including divorce and domestic violence.
  11. Creating benefits statements: 2015 52% – 2016 62%. Employees need clear, easy to understand benefits statements on a regular basis throughout the year, at least quarterly, so that they know their exact status. A professional can inform an employer on best practices and technologies for generating these important reports.
  12. Advising on healthcare reform requirements: 2015 57% – 2016 64%. Healthcare reform is one of the biggest political issues of the day, and employers need to keep abreast of changes in legislation that might affect their benefit plans, and what they need to do to stay in compliance with the law.
  13. Providing benefits administration: 2015 54% – 2016 64%. Administering benefit plans can be a huge task for larger companies, an no easy chore for smaller ones either. New technologies and platforms are making the job easier for both, and employers need to be aware of their options.
  14. Recommending product bundling that will meet employee needs: 2015 55% – 2016 64%. There are many products on the market today that can make managing employee benefit plans much easier and more efficient. Finding the right combination for a particular company’s needs requires a professional who is thoroughly familiar with what’s available and the strengths and weaknesses of specific products.
  15. Providing insights regarding benefits trends: 2015 54% – 2016 62%. Like just about everything else, benefits follow trends, and a good, up-to-date plan will take the latest ones into account. An agent or broker will be aware of these and can advise an employer accordingly.

 

Terry and Debbie Denesha have been advising businesses both large and small on their insurance and employee benefits plans for over a decade. Contact us at 661-397-0041 to arrange a consultation and find out how they can help create a plan to meet your company’s unique requirements.

 

 

What Is The Real Reason for Insurance?

Insurance is a misunderstood issue for a lot of people, but it is also one of the most important issues employers and employees will address. When you have a business and offer insurance to the people who work their, you need to be able to show them why insurance matters and what kinds of benefits they are really getting when they sign up. The more you understand about insurance, the more easily you can explain it to your employees in ways they are comfortable with. Then they can go on to make informed choices about whether they want to purchase insurance and what plan or policy they should select.

Transferring Risk Away From the Employee

The biggest benefit to your employees when they have insurance is that risk is transferred away from them. They will no longer have to pay for huge medical bills if something happens to them, like an accident or an illness, because the insurance company will be paying the majority of the bill. While insurance does not cover everything an employee might need to spend, and there will be out-of-pocket costs, employees can save themselves from financial ruin at the hands of medical bills if they have good insurance. That is a big benefit they receive when they work with an employer who offers a good insurance plan.

As an employer, you can show your employees that you care by helping them have good quality insurance at a reasonable price. There are only so many options open to employers, but picking the best plans and offering their information to your employees is a way to show that they matter. You will be taking some of the risk off of the employee and putting it in the hands of the insurance company, and when you can convey the message and value of that to your employees they will better understand why they should consider getting insurance through the company at the rates that are offered to them.

Employees Feel More Valued When They Are Offered Insurance

Employees who are offered insurance feel valued by their company more than employees who do not get any kind of insurance benefits. Because the employee and the employer both have to pay into the cost of the insurance, employees see that the company they work for is investing in them. Companies that offer insurance are saying to their employees that the employees are worth keeping, and that their health and safety matters. By providing this understanding of value to your employees, you show them they are important and they mean something to the company they work for. That can affect loyalty and performance.

Having Good Insurance Plans Can Mean Better Employment Candidates

An important benefit employers get when they offer good health insurance plans is a better pool of job candidates to choose from. People who are looking for employment often want more than just a paycheck, and if they see that they can get good insurance through one company but not through another company that is comparable in pay and job duties, most of them will choose the company where they can receive insurance. Having insurance is about more than just keeping employees from going broke if they are injured or sick. It is also about acquiring and retaining the best employees for the job at hand.

It’s Easier to Pick From a Few, Company-Provided Options

Self-employed people often struggle with how and where to choose an insurance plan. For company employees, though, that struggle is avoided. There are just a few options offered, and employees can pick the ones that work best for them. That eliminates the possibility of having too many choices, and the decision fatigue that can come along with it. In short, it helps employees make better choices, because too many choices generally leads people to pick something that actually is not right for them. By limiting employee choices for insurance, you are doing them a favor and making things much easier for them, overall.

Insurance Can Motivate Employees to Work Harder

Giving bonuses and other incentives, along with the idea that they will be protected by insurance if the company keeps them on after their probationary period of up, can all encourage employees to work harder. They want to do more for a company that treats them right, and that cares about them and their lives. That is good news for any company that offers insurance, because happy, productive employees are so important to the proper running of any company. Without good employees, many companies are left struggling. Sometimes as simple as providing insurance can change motivation levels and improve the bottom line.

Good Insurance Means Employees May Remain On the Job Longer

When employees have good insurance through their employer, another thing they may do is stay on the job longer. When they quit they will lose their insurance, and if the choose to keep it the price often rises drastically. If they change jobs they may not be covered by the other company for a while, or the other company they are considering may not have as good of an insurance plan. In some cases, the other company may not have an insurance plan at all. That can make a significant difference in how long a person chooses to work for a company, and if they stay even if other opportunities are available.

The Bottom Line on Insurance

Because insurance is a transfer of risk from the employee to the insurance company, it helps to protect the employee financially if there is an injury or illness. Additionally, employees feel much more valued and important to the company if they are offered insurance, which can lead them to stay with the company longer and work harder than they otherwise would. Good insurance plans can also bring in other employees who are dedicated and talented, and their lives are made easier by not having to choose from too many insurance plans. When insurance is handled the right way, It is a winning situation for both the employees and their employer.