Whether you need a comprehensive benefits package or general liability coverage, your insurance broker should be a valued partner that inspires trust. A client/broker relationship should identify the organization’s financial and business needs, leading to a strategic approach toward reaching the client’s benchmarks and achieving long-term goals. But finding clear advice about how to choose your broker can be difficult. In this article, we answer some basic questions to help you in your decision.
Q:Why should you use a benefits broker?
A:Benefits brokers provide many advantages in addition to helping a business procure health insurance, including:
Improved Talent Recruitment and Retention | The market for skilled professionals is competitive. In order to leverage your organization’s benefits as driver for employee recruitment and retention, you need your offering to include a robust package of standard and ancillary benefits. Your benefits broker should have a network of strategic partnerships to help further enhance program offerings.
Risk and Cost Mitigation Assistance | A benefits broker can help businesses mitigate risk factors that may increase employer and employee costs, and implement plan designs that are conducive to long-term success for both the employer and the workforce
Education and Guidance | It’s a broker’s role to provide guidance to an organization’s human resources and executive teams, ensuring employers and employees are adequately educated on all benefit offerings.
Alleviate Administrative Burden for Employers | Through support and administrative tools, a broker can reduce the burden placed on employers while increasing employee utilization efficiency, leading to cost saving opportunities for both employers and employees.
Q: Why does selecting a comprehensive brokerage make good business sense?
A:Some brokerages focus exclusively on either employee benefits or business insurance, while others handle both. There are benefits to selecting a comprehensive broker, such as:
Better Managed Total Cost of Risk (TCOR) | When one broker handles benefits and business insurance, risks across business operations are reduced.
Comprehensive Knowledge of Your Business | Using one broker helps streamline operations, especially during difficult times. Situations like COVID-19 affect both employee benefits and workers’ compensation, but a comprehensive broker can help an organization adapt to changing landscapes and mitigate future risks across all lines of coverage.
Strategic Partnership | More business together translates into a closer relationship, and a better defined, more strategic approach toward meeting financial and business benchmarks
Q: What are key differentiators to look for when selecting a broker?
A:Insurance brokers operate in a highly competitive environment to earn and retain customers’ business. The key differentiators they can provide a client are superior service and knowledgeable advice, such as:
A Main Point of Contact | Look for a broker that offers a primary contact that is held accountable for being responsive and thorough with a client and its workforce (as opposed to a customer service line).
Regular, Effective Communication | Too often brokers only reach out to clients during renewal time rather than maintaining an ongoing conversation throughout the year.
Definitive Timelines | Not only should your broker set timelines and adhere to them, they should communicate clear expectations during the implementation process and apply a proactive, strategic approach throughout the renewal process.
Goes Above and Beyond the Fundamentals | You will want a broker who is willing to assist with explanation of benefits throughout the recruitment process, utilizing in-depth analysis and partnerships to negotiate renewal increases. Working with a broker who functions as an extension of the client’s team, and who is committed to offering quality advisory support, helps an organization better manage their insurance expenses and align its risk mitigation strategy to help meet its business objectives.
Q:How can a broker help my organization with regulatory compliance?
A:Employers offering group health insurance face strict deadlines and liability to provide plan disclosures to employees. Failure to adhere to these guidelines may result in substantial penalties. Your comprehensive broker can help you maintain compliance by:
Conducting a Compliance Audit | You audit should be free of charge and:
Evaluate how well an organization adheres to rules and regulations, standards, and codes of conduct by producing an audit score
Outline the potential penalties for out-of-compliance areas
Recommend action items to improve the audit score to mitigate the risk of penalties
Recommending Compliance Experts | Expert partners assist with remaining fully compliant with ERISA standards throughout the year by providing all required documents, communications, notices, and record-keeping for all benefit plans.
Q:How can my organization optimize my broker relationship?
A:The client/broker relationship works best for all parties when it’s viewed as a valued partnership, with clearly articulated expectations. Many frustrations can be avoided when the client and the broker have a common understanding of not just the service that is to be expected, but also the roles of the broker and the insured.