It’s no longer business as usual for benefits advisors, but thankfully, the past few years have seen incredible innovations to arm you to not only compete with new pressures, but drive efficiencies, evolve your revenue and go-to-market strategy, and define the future of employee benefits. Benefits marketplaces embedded within technology platforms that solve problems for you, your clients, and their employees, might be key to your bottom line and winning in this new environment.
Automate inefficiencies and repeatable workflows
The insurance industry is known for relying far too heavily on manual methods to handle complex information and processes, but technology advancements in the past few years have drastically improved this approach through automation. Cutting-edge brokers are leveraging automation to focus their energy on what really matters: helping their employer clients navigate a fast-changing benefits landscape.
Brokers often remind me that time is a precious commodity and has never been more valuable. Today, your employer clients and prospects expect deeper levels of guidance and support than ever before. Think about common projects and activities your team works on that require precious time. Quoting ancillary is likely high on the list, especially for smaller groups that won’t deliver the same commissions to your agency as their larger counterparts. Enrolling employees is often arduous work, especially when employees don’t know the value of the products they’re spending their money on. Ongoing administration of data files is cumbersome and complicated, but technology exists to automate all of these processes for brokers, and benefits marketplaces often bring these tools together in a really powerful way, both for benefits advisors and for their clients.
Leverage the distribution power of marketplaces
Marketplaces provide significant distribution potential for insurance carriers and non-insurance products and services alike, driving higher levels of access and utilization than other traditional methods. This means products may have lower voluntary participation requirements for small groups, and ideally, electronic data interchange (EDI) with insurance carriers, automating the most tedious parts of the enrollment and administrative process. In many cases, marketplaces have also done the legwork to vet out the best wellness programs, telemedicine services, financial planning tools, and other nontraditional employee benefit programs that drive value to both employees and employers (and revenue to the brokers they work with).
Diversify your revenue opportunity
Although almost half of employers plan to offer a high-deductible plan by 2018, which could create gaps in coverage for employees, only 36 percent currently offer a voluntary product such as critical illness, accident, or hospital indemnity insurance to help fill those gaps -- and only 10 percent offer all three. This represents a liability for employees, and an opportunity for forward-thinking advisory firms to diversify their revenue streams with reliable non-health insurance commissions.
As a benefits advisor, you’re in a position to not only help employees close their coverage gaps, but find greater value in their benefits, ultimately leading to improved levels of engagement and satisfaction. And you stand to improve your agency’s revenue growth without costing the employer more on their benefits spend.
Grow your current book of business by increasing voluntary participation
Employees only spend 15 minutes enrolling in benefits, even though they’re spending a significant portion of their money (as well as their employer’s) on those very insurance products. Brokers looking to sell multiple lines of coverage need to capitalize on those 15 minutes. Paper-based enrollments that require an employee to enter the same information over and over in order to select multiple products ensures drop-off in enrollment numbers beyond core benefits like medical, dental and vision. Imagine if you could offer employees a one-stop shop for all their benefits, where they only have to enter personal information once, and all enrollment forms are completed electronically, with pre-filled fields. How much time would that save your employer client and your team?
Leveraging robust benefits strategies that include ancillary and lifestyle products adds up. Brokers should look for robust benefits marketplaces paired with enrollment and administration technology to bring voluntary benefit enrollment into one intuitive open enrollment experience for employees. When employees understand what they’re buying and how the products work together to not only fill gaps in coverage but improve their lives as a whole, voluntary participation will skyrocket, and your bottom line will thank you.