The Changing Role of Your Employee Benefits Broker
by Daniel J. Forssell, AAI
So what is the role of your employee benefits broker? If you work in the field of Human Resources, you likely interact with your company’s employee benefits agent, whether it is top-level decision making, or the daily administration of benefits – or both. As an HR professional, you’ve wrestled for many hours over how the Affordable Care Act is going to impact your company, and even your own role in your company. Workshops, seminars, webinars, and Google (even if you won’t admit it) have informed you, but have you considered how the role of your agent has also evolved in recent years? New laws, regulations and industry changes have dramatically altered the landscape for agents, and should alter your expectations.
It wasn’t very long ago that every property & casualty agent or financial planner wrote a few group health insurance policies “on the side”. They were already doing the Workers’ Compensation or 401k, and so why not write the medical too? Things were relatively simple and transactional with health insurance – market the renewal, make the spreadsheet, conduct open enrollment and presto! – the group was good for another year.
Buyers of benefits are quickly realizing that this just doesn’t cut it any more. Benefits can no longer be done "on the side," but demand a highly specialized, cutting-edge, dedicated professional. Strategic marketing of your renewal is more important than ever as rates skyrocket. Compliance is the buzzword of the day, and for good reason. Technology offers promising solutions, but brings with it a thousand new questions and concerns.
You are fighting tooth and nail to keep health insurance costs down, but every year it is a battle. Your renewal offer doesn’t seem justified based on the limited claims data you are made aware of. Because of the Affordable Care Act, plans are bloated with new covered services, and underwriters have their hands tied with new rating methodologies. You just changed carriers last year and you know it isn’t good to change too often. A good broker will help you develop a 3-5 year strategy, not just a 12-month Band-Aid.
New regulations abound and they make your head spin. As soon as you think you understand one, another comes to your attention that you had forgotten about, or maybe never heard of! You are doing what you can to keep up, but it just feels overwhelming, and there’s a nagging sense that you are out of compliance in some important areas. A good broker will provide you with objective resources that help you plainly see what compliance looks like for your company – and how to get there.
Multiple paper insurance applications for each employee is your ongoing nightmare, and you have the paper cuts to prove it. Technology seems like it could make life easier, but are your employees ready? Direct feeds to the carrier, reduced errors and reconciled billing sound great. The only problem is there are dozens of technology vendors and after a while they all look and sound alike. How do you know which one is right for you? A good broker will be well-versed in this new technology and guide you through selection and implementation.
This is a whole new frontier for the entire benefits industry, and that is a good thing. Pressure creates diamonds, and all of the current turbulence with employee benefits is prompting great products and technology to be developed. It is also having a positive impact on the broker community as the demands of our clients are ever-increasing. Can you say that your broker is one who has changed with the times?
2015 Survey Reveals that Companies are Looking to Increase Workforce Size
fAccording to the 2015 HireRight Employment Screening Benchmark Report, which surveys over 3,000 HR professionals, a significant business growth is planned for this year. 76% of respondents predicted they would increase their workforce size this year with more than 55% planning significant growth of 3 %or more. Additionally, 51% said “finding and retaining talent” was their top business challenge. The key initiatives planned by employers include:
Developing effective employee training programs (43%)
Improving candidate experience (38%)
Developing Leaders (37%)
Creating a positive Culture (36%)
Maximizing Employee Engagement (35%)
Source link: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home20150225005283/en/HireRight-Benchmark-Report-Reveals-Recruiting-Retention-Talent#VOhBco47um4
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