Achieving the most efficient benefit enrollment period involves many aspects. Choosing the most appropriate healthcare plan, how much to invest in life insurance and choosing what voluntary and ancillary benefits would be most useful to the employee all factor into its success.
Benefit brokers can strengthen client satisfaction and their own revenue stream through improved comprehension of effective enrollments and long-term economic models, according to a new Colonial Life white paper.
Also see: “7 signs your rockstar employee is eyeing the door.”
Through the use of industry and internal company research to illustrate the best technology, tactics and communication strategies, brokers are using The Enrollment Engine to deliver effective benefits enrollments for their clients.
Steve Vermette, vice president of growth market solutions at Colonial Life, says these strategies are crucial during this time when employee finances might not be at their strongest.
“With rising health costs and the increasing financial fragility of America’s workers, brokers play a critical role in helping employees understand and participate in the benefits programs they need to protect themselves and their families,” Vermette says. “Knowing the best practices for enrollments will help them ensure success, both for their clients and themselves.”
At least 98% of employees agree it is important to understand their benefits; yet only a third say they actually understand them well, according to the Colonial Life report. Despite these statistics, 90% of employers think benefits communication is effective.
Also see: “6 ways brokers can increase productivity.”
Yuliya Babushkina, assistant research director at LIMRA, says that this communication disconnect between employees and employers could cause a drop in enrollment and as a result could increase the cost of benefit expenses. “Low participation rates ultimately weaken employers’ ability to control overall benefit costs, resulting in higher long-term benefit expenses,” Babushkina says.
The most value
To assist with better communication, discussions about enrollment should begin at least three weeks before the enrollment period, using at least three different communication methods and personalizing messages, according to Colonial Life’s report.
When comparing how employers handle benefit enrollment, half of employers prefer self-directed, online enrollment, while employees who participate in one-to-one sessions with a benefits counselor nearly unanimously say they are important and helpful. Offering multiple options, including ability to seamlessly integrate core and benefit enrollments is the best solution, says Vermette.
“Brokers can bring the most value to their clients by partnering with benefits providers that can connect different enrollment methods and benefits administration platforms, eliminating the need for a separate enrollment system and additional vendors,” Vermette says.
As a result of increased communication regarding enrollment, stronger participation will be achieved, which can lead to higher commissions, but commissions are only part of the process.
“Brokers need to carefully compare the long-term total commissions revenue along with the costs of using carrier enrollment, in-house enrollers and enrollment firms to maximize their income potential, now and in years to come,” Vermette says.
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