Do you discuss ancillary benefits during every prospecting and renewal meeting? How often do employers ignore your advice to offer more benefits?

If you’re not presenting ancillary options in the right way, you’re selling your clients short. And missing out on additional commission. Here are three ways you should be talking about ancillary benefits with employers, and how to nail your presentation every time.

1) Show employers the demand. There has been plenty published about employee demand for more benefits, but many employers are still missing the boat. For most, it comes down to an issue of cost, which is understandable given today’s uncertain healthcare industry and ever-rising healthcare costs.

However, your job is to show that not offering ancillary benefits may be costing the employer even more than offering them. These telling findings from a recent Glassdoor survey should paint a convincing picture to reluctant employers:

  • 48% of employees would change jobs for more/better benefits
  • 80% of employees say that their overall benefits package is a major factor in accepting or declining a new job offer
  • 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise

Those are some eye-opening statistics. Clearly, a quality benefits package is a must for employees. For employers who balk at expanding their benefits package, ask if they are prepared to lose top performers or miss out on great talent.

Providing a comprehensive benefits package can save employers money by reducing unnecessary turnover and attracting the best workers. This benefits package should include dental, vision, life and disability — at a minimum. Cost for the employer need not be a major obstacle: most employees are willing to pay for voluntary benefits (even 100% of the cost), they just want the employer access point.

2) Demonstrate the benefits for the employer. Beyond helping attract and retain top talent, there are other notable benefits for companies who offer a breadth of voluntary options.

To start, offering dental and vision can actually lower overall employee health costs. Why? Many illnesses and health complications are related to tooth or vision problems. If caught early (via regular dental and vision exams), costs can be reduced and health outcomes increase. Plus, employees with fewer health problems are more productive.

Workplace wellness continues to be a focus for those very reasons. Dental and vision coverage should be considered part of any wellness initiative. Additional benefits such as critical injury, cancer care, and more, can contribute even more to employee health and well-being, and thus engagement and productivity.

Also see:16 areas where employers most want help from their broker.”

The other major area that can hurt or benefit employers is employee financial well-being. Employees who are financially burdened will not have the same amount of focus at work, nor will they work to their highest potential.

Much has been written about the importance of employee financial health, but I want to share some troubling statistics that employers should take to heart:

  • 25% of employees will be at least partially disabled (or have suffered a disability) by the time they retire
  • 70% of households live paycheck to paycheck
  • 70% of households with kids would suffer financially if the primary earner passed away

Offering even basic voluntary benefits such as life and disability can do a lot to provide a financial safety net for employees — which is, no doubt, in the employer’s best interest.

3) Don’t present it as an afterthought. Now that I’ve shared plenty of evidence that employers need to offer ancillary benefits (and I encourage you to share these insights with clients and prospects), it’s time to focus on how you sell them.

Most brokers will at least discuss ancillary benefit options during their renewal (or prospect) meetings. The problem I often see is that ancillary is not integrated into the larger benefits conversation. Brokers help their clients make decisions on medical and prescription drug plans, and then often mention ancillary coverages as an afterthought.

If this sounds like you, I would urge you to rethink your presentation. After the employer makes budget and cost sharing decisions for medical and Rx, it can be tough to add on additional coverages and costs. Instead, ancillary should be presented seamlessly as part of a strategic benefit package.

Start by looking at employer goals, discuss budget, and then look at medical, Rx and ancillary coverages as a big picture. Cost sharing discussions should take all coverages into account from the start, so employers don’t feel like they’re just being sold an extra product or two after the “important” (major medical) decisions were made. Consider technology tools that integrate all coverage options, so your presentation isn’t disjointed.

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Andy Nunemaker

Andy Nunemaker

Nunemaker is the CEO of Dynamis Software Corporation, a provider of sales software in the healthcare insurance industry.