As with all outside provider relationships, the performance of your Employee Benefits broker can have a tremendous impact on your company’s overall performance. Ineffective benefit plans add needless cost, create employee dissatisfaction, impact employee retention and lessen a company’s attractiveness to potential new employees.
Brokers today come in two forms: those who still believe that the strategies that worked in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s work well today, and those who know differently. Many of today’s employers have a multi-generational workforce – Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and possibly / soon Gen Zers. Employee Benefit plans that meet the needs for some, don’t even come close for others.
The modern-day broker is focused on understanding its clients’ industry, business strategy, employee population and needs. Modern-day brokers also help their clients obtain a clear understanding of what the employer wants to achieve through its Employee benefits, and possesses the plan design savvy and experience to customize a program to enable the employer to accomplish its objectives.
Many smaller companies simply don’t have the staff or in-house resources to serve as “experts” in the Employee benefits arena. An experienced, full-service broker can provide the necessary support and expertise, and can help champion all aspects of its clients’ Employee Benefits program. And modern-day brokers can bring the necessary communication and benefits administration tools to help employees better understand their company’s plan offerings as they relate to their specific needs, as well as to help navigate enrollment, utilization and claims activity.
There are many factors in choosing the right broker: old school vs new school, frequency of engagement, 1-2 per year, or do they fully engage, meet at least quarterly to assess, report, and share key data? Is your broker competitive with the costs they propose, creative with the value-add solutions they routinely bring forth, and responsive in the way they service their accounts with claims, billing and other issues? Has your firm outgrown your current broker, does your firm now need one that can do more for the current and anticipated size and changing needs of your organization? Understanding what works, and what doesn’t, with your current broker will help shape the questions that should be asked of potential new ones.
It’s important to set clear expectations with respect to all functions to be performed as part of a new broker relationship. Same too with respect to adhering to budgetary parameters. Modern-day brokers will play an important role in employee communication and education, and assign a point person as an account manager, the first point of contact. Your Employee Benefits broker should serve as a true business partner, and you should share a strong and cordial business-like relationship with them. It needs to be clear through their every action that your broker always has your company’s best interests in mind throughout the entire plan year.
If it’s time to possibly reboot your Employee Benefits broker relationship, we’d be happy to discuss how our firm can partner with yours. Our success is measured by yours. www.villagroupinsurance.com.