David Marom saw a need in the benefits marketplace, and he's using two decades worth of industry experience to meet it. This quarter, Marom Tech launches its Benefits Analysis Reporting application to help benefit advisers and consultants meet client needs through five avenues:
1) Diagnostic tools and management reports for multi-year budgeting and strategic planning
2) Multiple databases of benchmarking data
3) Automatic suite of employee commu- nication tools
4) Contract and information reference resources
5) Cost and liability executive reports
Marom spoke with EBA about developing the application and how he expects early adaptors to have a competitive edge through custom benefits analytics.
What is your background in the insurance industry?
I have been in employee benefits for about 20 years now. Most of that time was spent on the advisory side. I had a little bit of time in HR and a little bit of time on the provider side, especially for self-funded medical plans.
In the mid-'90s I joined as a partner with a start-up benefits advisory firm here in New York City and that's where I really started developing a very comprehensive consulting and reporting model that we used for our corporate clients, most of whom had [approximately] 1,000 clients.
We took the approach that clients really needed comprehensive but very clear and concise information on their benefits program. So I developed that for about 10 years. We eventually sold our firm in 2004.
I decided in 2006 to start my own firm helping employers as an employee benefit adviser, but my true goal was really to develop this reporting package that I could then license out to other advisers. Because over the course of using the earlier, simpler and manual versions it was so compelling and so worthwhile for us as an advisory firm but also to our clients.
I thought there was a real value in having this kind of reporting and business intelligence provided to employers regarding their benefit plans. I just found there's very little of this out there.
So I spent about a year with a team of five software developers working on this and getting it developed and we're finally ready.
For what type of broker or adviser do you envision Marom Tech working most effectively?
It's definitely the broker that is helping their clients truly as an adviser and not just as a broker for their insurance. Whether they're paid as a broker or as a consultant, it really doesn't matter. It's the value they're providing to their corporate client.
The ones that want to help their clients manage their entire health and welfare benefits package - not just medical or not just the life insurance or disability but the whole package - and help those clients on a multi-year basis.
That's where this really comes in because the reporting package always shows historical rates and contributions and plan design information on a three-year running history.
And it also provides benchmarking data and just a lot of detail that helps the client/adviser relationship work in partnership to manage the whole benefits program and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and that the plan design is being properly configured so that it most benefits the employees based on the demographics of the employee population. As well as controlling costs for the employer, and of course translated down to the employee as well. The ultimate beneficiary of course is always the employee.
Why distribute the product through advisers?
This clearly could be beneficial being provided directly to employers, but I'm distributing it through advisers because advisers are always looking for a way to help their clients in additional ways and it certainly helps them in their relationship with their corporate clients.
What do advisers need to do to get the program?
It's online access software, taking advantage of all the benefits of cloud computing. In the early months I'll be the direct contact for advisers to be able to create a solution for them in terms of how many clients they want to use the software for and how they want to use the software. Helping them utilize the software to the best benefit of their own internal efficiencies as well as for their clients, of course.
I would be the contact for them to develop a relationship where they can have a software program that really benefits their own agency as well as their clients.
For those already working with a program, how is this different than what they have now?
Before I launched this I did a lot of research, so hopefully it's more user-friendly. I think it's much more comprehensive. The old joke is this reporting package provides everything they want to know about their client's benefits program but maybe forgot to ask. So it's very comprehensive.
It can be used as a sales and marketing tool for them as well as just a way of reporting the benefits cost and plan design to their clients.
Because when I've used the simpler manual versions of this in the past and we showed prospective clients what we do for them it was very compelling and very attractive.
Other software out there that advisers may use or their own internal reporting really hasn't been as comprehensive as this software is or hasn't been able to be used as a sales and marketing tool to the extent that this software has.
And because it's cloud-based computing there's constant improvements and upgrades being made that they'll be able to automatically receive the benefit of - especially the early adopters of the software. They'll have a major influence of being able to say, 'Well, I want this additional report' or 'I want this additional functionality.'
That's going to be very compelling for the early adapters to be able to have that kind of influence on the development of the software.
What are you hearing from the early adapters?
The reaction that I've gotten from advisers is that they do a little bit of this here or a little bit of this there but nothing as comprehensive.
And because it's software it's controlled so that the possibility of mistakes being made in a calculation or something being done differently by one of their staff members versus another, that's all controlled.
So I think it's going to be a lot more attractive and a lot more compelling for advisers to use the software than trying to continue using a spreadsheet here or an exhibit here that might have some of the same information.
What is the fee structure?
The pricing is $25 a month per subscription, with a minimum of five corporate client subscriptions.
More information on Marom Tech's Benefits Analysis Reporting application is available at maromtech.com.
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