Pirate-Proof Your Client’s Benefits Plan

Jack SparrowDo you stay up late at night worrying about other advisors scooping up your business? Are your nightmares haunted by middle-aged financial advisors with five group clients snagging your clients because they achieved the impossible and found an insurer to buy the business, or their kids both play for the Small Town Chargers?

You need to be more valuable to your clients than the person standing next to them in the freezing cold at 6:00am on Sunday morning who was thoughtful enough to bring them coffee.

That means offering real advice. (Analysis even!) If the weekend warrior group sales broker can pilfer your booty, you need to up your game.

If you pirate-proof your client’s benefits plan, you won’t have to worry. No one will be able to offer what you’re bringing to the table.

Clients Don’t Owe You Anything

Let’s face it – the small group benefits industry is commodity-driven. When you’re selling benefits plans off-the-shelf, it may well be in your clients’ best interest to shop around until they find the carrier that gives them the most savings.

Your clients don’t have to stick with you. And unless you’ve developed a powerful relationship with them, they probably won’t. They owe you nothing.

However, let’s say you’re not selling a commodity – let’s say you’re selling something they simply can’t get anywhere else – that’s a different story.

A custom benefits plan with a prompt and professional provider isn’t a commodity. It’s a blank canvas, infinite possibilities, and your big moment to shine.

Now it’s not just a benefits plan, it’s their benefits plan.

What Will Make My Benefits Plans Pirate-Proof?

Customization Will Pirate-Proof Your Plans

The best way to fend off advisors who are trying to undercut you is to offer a customized plan that they can’t duplicate. In order to create a custom plan, your job as advisor is to ask the right questions to determine how best to tailor a plan to meet their needs.  Offer your clients invaluable insight and ingenuity.

An off-the-shelf benefits plan may have tiered options for different levels of benefits that the client can choose from. It offers some choice, but no freedom.

But a custom plan is flexible. For the client, it’s the ultimate freedom to tell you what they want and get exactly that. No limitations, no barriers for businesses of any size (not just the big guys).

A good Third Party Administrator will be able to provide your clients with Critical Illness or Long Term Disability Insurance without requiring Life Insurance.  A custom plan shouldn’t come with caveats that you must buy something you don’t want. Ideally the provider won’t have all their eggs in one basket and will have multiple suppliers so they are not beholden to anyone.

Not only that, but with a custom plan, you can customize specific options for sets of employees, or “groups within their group”.

Few other advisors will offer them the freedom of a truly customized plan.

Executive Benefits Will Pirate-Proof Your Plans

Executive benefits are a particularly compelling component of a customized benefits plan (as well as an easy selling point!).

Conventional benefits plans too often limit all employees to a single core plan. However, companies don’t compensate business owners, executives, or essential employees the same as everyone else. So why should they be receiving the same benefits?  Benefits plans should be designed to match compensation philosophy.

Custom plan design allows you to layer executive benefits onto a current plan or create an entirely new plan that includes executive benefits.

At The Benefits Trust, we believe highly compensated executives should be reimbursed at 100% without internal limitations. They shouldn’t have to worry about running out of funding for their healthcare expenses. They should be able to take care of their needs with a tax-effective, comprehensive suite of benefits.

Become the advisor who can offer this and your plans will be hard to replicate.  Your clients will ignore the calls from bilge rats offering to save them 10%.

Outstanding Service Will Pirate-Proof Your Plans

This one is simple. Provide exceptional service and your clients are more likely to remain loyal. They will not consider price paramount.  As such, the companies you choose to partner with play a vital role in protecting your business.

Do your partners provide fast turnaround for claims? Do they make benefits easy to understand and easy to use for employers and employees alike? Can you quickly make changes to a client’s plan if they’re unhappy with certain elements of it?

If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, congratulations – you’re well on your way to protecting your clients from vultures and dabblers.

Transparency Will Pirate-Proof Your Plans

Finally, clients want to know where their money is going. They really don’t want to face big budgetary surprises at the end of the year.

Monthly financial reporting allows you and your clients to monitor and control their spending – and it helps them appreciate the value they are getting from the plan. Once they understand how it all works and how they can tweak their plan to contain costs, they won’t be fooled by empty promises.

Custom Pirate-Proof Benefits Plan Example

Here is an example of a custom benefits plan that would be difficult to reproduce:

Ownership and Key Executives Life; AD&D; 100% executive benefits
Middle Management Life; AD&D; 90% health & dental coverage; 90% drug plan coverage; $1,800 HCSA
Full-time Employees with over 10 Years Seniority AD&D; 80% health & dental coverage; 80% drug plan coverage; $900 HCSA
Full-time Employees with 2 – 10 Years Seniority AD&D; 80% limited health & dental coverage; 80% drug plan; $400 HCSA
Full-time Employees with under 2 Years Seniority (with a 6 month waiting period) AD&D; 80% drug plan

When you’re selling a custom benefits plan, the possibilities are endless. Your clients need your experience and advice to help them make the right choices for their business. And when that happens, you’re no longer selling a commodity, you’re selling something irreplaceable – yourself.

>> The Benefits Trust is a Third Party Administrator that helps advisors create unbeatable benefits plans for their clients. Talk to us about how we can help you pirate-proof your client’s benefits plans.

Use our FREE eBook as a tool for educating clients: “The Smart Employer’s Guide to Healthcare Spending Accounts”.

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About Mike Ignatz

Mike Ignatz has managed Business Development at The Benefits Trust since 2005. His drive and focus has helped The Benefits Trust provide better benefits plans to small and mid-sized businesses throughout Canada.

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