PeopleStrategy, Inc., a provider of end-to-end human capital management solutions, has extended its software offerings to benefits brokers. Its newest product, BrokerView, serves as an olive branch to advisers for whom HCM developers have more often become competitors than partners, its creators say.

Randy Cooper

“We don’t see a lot of holistic platforms out there that deal with the broker side," says Randy Cooper, CEO of PeopleStrategy.

BrokerView offers an automated, cloud-based platform for brokers to manage HR payroll, time and attendance and talent processes through self-service, configurable workflows and mobile access. Advisers can manage their clients’ annual census, billing reconciliation for carriers, the benefits enrollment process and oversee ACA and carrier 834 HIPAA requirements.

The product also gives advisers access to enrollment capabilities that PeopleStrategy’s direct employer clients don’t have, such as guided selling and decision support on enrollment, Cooper says.

“[Our purpose] is to help brokers be more successful in their core business as well as become more strategic to their clients," explains Cooper. “It could be as simple as a small client that just needs payroll, to a larger client in their book that’s in need of a broader, more complex HCM solution."

BrokerView tailors to diverse brokers and employers’ needs and generally targets brokers serving clients with 50 or more employees.

Aiding the broker
In recent years, the brokers’ business has come under siege from HCM platform makers that have broadened from HR payroll and started offering broker services direct to employees, Cooper says.

PeopleStrategy chose to focus on advisers because “brokers bring an immense amount of value to their customers in helping them not only understand benefits, manage and navigate a very complex marketplace, but also, [in serving] as a trusted adviser, to help a company strategically hire and retain and properly provide benefits to their employees," Cooper says.

As Cooper sees it, there are two paradigms of thought in the HCM space and “the vast majority have executed a strategy of killing the broker," he says, rather than aiding the broker.

PeopleStrategy has taken up the latter camp to defend the broker from competitors and enable them to not only retain current business but also grow it toward new opportunities, he says. “We’re stepping into the broker market as a way to help the brokers defend against the ADPs, the Paychex, the Zenefits, the Gustos and the ASOs that are trying to eat into brokers' client base,” says Cooper.

Defined contribution
Cooper believes their platform looks to the future as employers shift from defined benefit plans to defined contribution models and helps ensure that brokers are well positioned to take advantage of the DC space once it fully transitions.

“As ACA gets a deeper foothold each year, we believe the employer model will move away from defined benefits and move toward a defined contribution model where the benefits will no longer be controlled by the executives at the company, but by the employees," Cooper says.

They work with brokers to build a catalogue of benefits and create benefit bundles, including voluntary offerings, to offer employees based on their individual needs.

The PeopleStrategy platform collects life information from employees by asking them about their personal needs and lifestyles. Then it asks employees to rank what’s most important to them in terms of benefits and cost points. Finally, it offers a series of tradeoff questions. For example, would you pay a $50 higher premium in exchange for having a lower co-pay or lower deductible?

By culling that information, the system can offer recommendations for best medical, dental, life and voluntary insurance plans that would fit the employee’s needs. Depending on what the broker believes best serves their client’s population, they could include voluntary benefits beyond the core health and welfare offerings, such as pet insurance.

“We think [our product is] very unique,” says Cooper. “When I look around the marketplace, I don’t see anyone else trying to help brokers bring that full solution."

With their BrokerView product, PeopleStrategy hopes to become a trusted partner in the benefits brokers’ work by providing full end-to-end solutions in a highly competitive marketplace, he says.

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