The fourth quarter of 2015 will definitely be the season to remember! All the benefit professionals I’ve spoken with, including producers, account managers, customer service staff, and proposal specialists, have all said the same thing— this has been the busiest, most chaotic renewal season ever.

There has been a convergence of events that have created this chaos. November and December are traditionally busy as many of the larger groups renew on a calendar year basis. Additionally, many smaller groups, normally Q1 and Q2 group renewals advanced their renewals last year to December to delay implementation of some of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The change and unchange of 55-99 life groups going from large to small group and back to large in all but several states has also added to the confusion. 

Also see: "5 tips to handle the hectic holiday season at work and home."

Did I mention the ACA reporting that is required by early 2016? Hopefully, by the time you read this you will be enjoying your holiday season and the majority of the renewal work will be behind you.

The bigger issue is, however, how do we better manage workflow and our human capital deployment next renewal season?  It makes no business sense to have 60-70% of our renewals in a 2-3 month period. What are some of the things that can be done to mitigate this chaos next year?

It appears some of the carriers (they have the same problem we do) are allowing the renewals to be reset for later in the year. This would help in returning the workflow back to semi-normal. Is there a way to hire seasonal staff or redeploy existing staff to assist with the yearend crunch — much like the department stores do for the holiday period?

What I know with certainty is that no one wants a repeat of this renewal season. Please share your thoughts and potential solutions. Collectively, we have the answer. We want to make Q4, 2016 the season to remember in a positive way.

Torelli is area senior vice president at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and an EBA Advisory Board member. Reach him at

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