Insurance and benefits offerings are the second largest employee expense outside of payroll. And who is responsible for it all? Your benefits broker. Insurance programs can directly impact employee turnover, retention numbers, workplace productivity, job offer acceptance rates, and candidate quality. With the ability to affect your organization at a very large scale, it is important to have a broker who outperforms the rest.
To ensure that your broker is the right fit for your company, ask prospective brokers these 10 questions:
- What is their method for controlling healthcare costs? The ideal broker will give his or her professional advice to your management and HR teams in order to create a strategy that will work for years. Using data analytics and benchmarking they will be able to show you where your premium falls in comparison to companies similar to yours. Additionally, they will negotiate with carriers to get you the best rate and suggest alternative options for funding your benefits.
- What services should I expect? It is important to understand the scope of services that your benefits broker can provide. First, you need to determine what is most important to your company’s needs, then you can discuss what services you will need from your broker in order to have a well-run benefits plan.
- Do they have solid references and industry experience? A reliable benefits broker will be able to provide you with references in similar industries and demographics to yours. This guarantees your benefits broker is focused on the specific types of products your employees need.
- How will they support your company and your employees? Providing ongoing employee support for benefits-related issues and questions beyond enrollment is important. The best brokers are the ones who are invested in your employees and want them to completely understand their benefit options. You will want to hire a benefits broker who will host informational sessions and schedule employee meetings in order to meet this goal.
- What kind of online enrollment and other tools do they offer? Model brokers offer a fully-integrated solution shaped to fit your needs. These brokers will ensure that the technology is equipped to solve your problems. Many brokers offer enterprise class HRMS and Open Enrollment solutions.
- How do they plan on handling the renewal process? Typically, the renewal process starts a minimum of 45 to 60 days prior to the renewal date. However, you want a broker who will be proactively working on your plan year-round. This gives both parties involved plenty of time to review the data, gather competitive quotes, and make the right decision. Your broker should negotiate your renewal rate each year and be able to suggest products that would be appealing to your employees.
- How do they ensure that their clients are kept in compliance, and what resources do they offer? A good broker takes compliance to the next level. They will supply you with all of the tools and information you need in order to make informed decisions. In addition to communicating compliance information and providing technology to manage compliance issues, their services should include a dedicated contact, representative, or call center that you can use for questions or concerns.
- How much support will they offer your HR department? The ideal broker will act as a trusted partner who works strategically with HR, supplying the vital tools for success. Tools such as online enrollment, HRIS software, and human resource outsourcing services. You want your broker to be a total solution provider for your organization.
- Will you have a dedicated account manager? As an employer, you want your broker to be accessible in case you ever need them. A dedicated account manager is someone who will always be available to help you if you have a question about your plan or are having trouble making a claim. This contact can help you resolve any issues and answer questions.
- How will they determine the best coverage for you? Your employees’ insurance and benefit needs will change over time due to both internal and external causes and changes, so your benefits broker should not only demonstrate the experience to create initial packages, but continue to monitor employee and business needs based on the financial information you provide.
Analyzing these ten critical questions in relation to your organization’s needs will help you make a more informed decision about your benefits broker. If your broker is incapable of answering these questions then odds are you should reconsider. Source: SHRM