We all know that selling voluntary benefits is a multi-stepprocess. Carriers have to sell their products to brokers, who thenhave to sell to the employer and ultimately the employees.


It's this last step that's often overlooked or not given enoughattention. But until an employee buys something, none of theselling before that makes any difference. Understanding whatemployees need in terms of insurance coverage is important toachieving good enrollment results. Too often, we design ourenrollment approach around what we are comfortable with rather thanwhat the employee needs. Or, we are reluctant to tell an employerthat their preferred method of enrollment is not going to work formany voluntary benefits. In both of these situations, we're notfocused on the end buyer.


To illustrate this point, let's put it in the context of adifferent setting—the automobile industry. Today, you decide to goto a dealership to look at buying a new car.


Scenario 1: At the first dealership, the owner doesn'tallow test drives because he claims it interrupts the day. Instead,you're given a brochure and asked to contact someone if you'reinterested in purchasing a car.


Scenario 2: At the second dealership, you talk to asalesperson who tells you he prefers small cars and proceeds toshow you one. However, you have four kids and need more room. Sincethe salesperson is only comfortable with small cars, that's all youare able to see.


Both scenarios are ridiculous, but not all that far-fetchedcompared with what we do in the voluntary industry when we let ourown comfort level or the employer's initial preference completelydominate the enrollment approach.


Research has shown that when it comes to voluntary, employeesare looking for:

  • Helpful and needs-based presentation of the product

  • Adequate information on the product

  • Adequate support and advice

  • Proper type of product available

  • Appropriate amount of insurance available

  • Helpful and adequate technology

  • Simple application process

As you're considering how to enroll a case, keep in mind howwell your proposed methodology provides these elements foremployees.


Our research shows that different enrollment methodologies tendto accomplish these to a greater or lesser degree. We see thisthrough a variety of instruments, including employee satisfactionregarding their enrollment experience. Consider two commonenrollment methods used in the voluntary market: paper enrollmentkits that the employee completes and returns (usually to HR) and anInternet-based enrollment. As indicated in the sidebar, employeesatisfaction is much lower when they are left on their own tocomplete paper enrollment forms.


Before your next enrollment, evaluate whether the methods youare considering will address employee needs for a qualityenrollment process. If not, it may be time to try somethingnew.

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