Saturday, July 21, 2012

15 REASONS TO WALK AWAY FROM A POTENTIAL NEW VOLUNTARY/WORKSITE BENEFITS ACCOUNT?

As a Broker it's never easy to negotiate with the Employer to obtain a new Voluntary/Worksite Benefit  Account.  You have competition from other Brokers, Agents representing specific Insurance Companies, Consultants, Enrollment Companies, and even some Payroll Companies.  You must clear hurdles with the CEO, CFO, HR Department and sometmes Unions.

It is even more difficult to walk away if you are unable to negotiate the good Working Conditions essential for optimizing Penetration and Persistency!  After years of experience working with Brokers and negotiating with Employers, we at BenefitPlace.biz and BPTradeShow.com have found 15 Reason that should trigger your walking away!  Any one of these could cause a disaster.  A combination of these factors almost guarantees a bad experience for all involved - The Broker(s), Employer, Employees, Insurance Companies, Enrollment Company, TPA, etc.  Here they are:

  1. Respect -- The Employer shows no respect for the Employees
  2. Hidden Agenda -- The employer has a hidden agenda for utilizing your services, ie. Free Enrollment of Core Benefits, Free Section 125, Free Medical Reimbursement Accounts, Free Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts, etc. 
  3. Core Benefits -- The Employer does not offer or contribute to at least a basic Health Insurance Plan.   
  4. Menu of Benefits -- The Employer will not offer a menu of benefit "Choices" that meet the needs and "Price Points" of the Employees"
  5. Integration -- Employer is unwilling to integrate Core and Voluntary/Worksite Plans to avoid duplication and waste of Employees dollars 
  6. Unearned Commission Broker Splits -- The Employer authorizes or forces you to split commissions with a Broker/agent who is not contributing to the effort  
  7. Payroll Deduction -- The Employer will not allow for Payroll Deduction of the Plans, Programs and/or Services to be offered 
  8. Pre-Taxing Qualified Plans -- The Employer is unwilling to pre-tax qualified plans (Section 125 of the IRSC) to reduce benefit costs for the Employees 
  9. Buy-In -- The Employer will not assist in getting the management and department heads to understand and participate in working with their Employees by having Managers Meetings.
  10. Time and a System -- The Employer will not provide adequate time and a system for the Education, Communication, Enrollment, and Data Management processes
  11. Preliminary Group Meetings -- The Employer will not provide time and space for providing information to the Employees - and preferably their family members - prior to the enrollment period  
  12. Working Hours -- The Employer will not provide the Employees time during working hours to make their decisions
  13. Pulse Meetings -- The Employer will not permit periodic meeting during the Enrollment Period to iron our problems being reported by Managers and Employees
  14. Data Systems and Payroll - The Employer will not allow the time for a Payroll "Dry Run" for checking Plans and Employee Deductions
  15. Deduction Follow-up -- The Employer will not have someone available at the time the first paychecks come out following the enrollment and first deduction.
Voluntary/Worksite Employee Benefit Accounts are only as good for all parties to the Plan Strategy - Employers, Employees, Broker(s), Insurance Companies, Enrollment Companies, TPAs, etc. - as the negotiated Working Conditions!   Employers, Managers, and most traditional Core Benefit Brokers do not understand what it takes to have good participation (penetration) and to meet the needs of the Employees so they remain on the Plans, Programs and/or Services offered (persistency).  If you, the originating Broker, compromise on the above, you will be compromising the success of the Benefit Strategy and Design.   

Please share your experiences by commenting -- Email - max@benefitplace.biz or Call Phil 216.577.5579.  For more discussions Join our Linkedin Group, Insurance Forum.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

VOLUNTARY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS - SELECTING A MENU OF PLANS

Brokers, Employers, and Employees have more Voluntary (Worksite) Benefit Choices than ever!  These Programs, Products, and Services are either Insurance or Non-Insurance based.  They are Employer-Sponsored, offered at the cost and discretion of the Employee on a payroll-deducted basis, and generally are offered on a Group or Individual Platform. 


The selection process can be confusing for the Broker(s) making recommendations, the Employers - HR, CFOs, CEOs, etc. - and ultimately the Employees and their Families.  In a future Blog I will look at criteria for selecting specific Carriers as well as Programs, Products, and Services.  The purpose of this Blog is to list the available types of Voluntary Benefits Choices. For more information click on the Links below or visit the SITEMAP on BenefitPlace.biz

After years of experience in assisting Brokers, Employers, and Employees, we suggest that the   choices, in the order listed below, should have Primary consideration in the 1st year of enrollment to gain the greatest Penetration and Persistency.

Primary List:

  1. Short Term Disability (STD)
  2. Accident Plan  
  3. Critical Illness Plan 
  4. Life Insurance - Term, UL, other
  5. Premium Conversion (Section 125) 
  6. Medical Reimbursement Accounts (Flex Plans)  
  7. Dependent Care Reimbursement Accounts 
  8. Transportation and Parking Reimbursement Accounts 
The following is a list of additional Voluntary Benefits available industry-wide for your consideration:
  
Alphabetical List:

*Pages under construction

I am sure that the above list is not all inclusive.  We welcome your commenting with additions!  For descriptions of the plans listed above as well as the listings of Carriers and Providers, visit BenefitPlace.biz and/or BPTradeShow.com.  Have a question?  Email - max@benefitpace.biz / Call 216.577.5579.

WELCOME TO BENEFITPLACE!

BenefitPlace hopes you will use this forum to respond to posted comments and share your ideas, questions and expertise related to the overall Employee Benefits and Individual insurance marketplace. Thanks for joining us!