Common Benefits Advisor Problems: Adding Value, Part One

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.

Common Benefits Advisor Problems: Adding Value, Part One

As a benefits broker, you know you need to consistently add value for your clients. And value means a lot more than just saving money—it’s about being a trusted advisor who educates and helps business owners make the best decisions for their unique situation.

In this blog series, we will cover three topics to help you add real value for your clients:

  • How educating employees and employers leads to higher plan satisfaction.
  • Why you need to know what you are shopping for before you shop around.
  • The roles and responsibilities of brokers, insurers, TPAs, and clients.

The first step is to educate your clients, so let’s start with the basics: what is a benefits plan? A benefits plan is more than just insurance, drug cards, and having your trip to the dentist reimbursed—it’s a promise between an employer and an employee. Employers should be able to make whatever promises they see fit for their employees; there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Times are changing and as a broker, you need to stay current to add value for your clients.

With that groundwork in place, let’s discuss our first topic.

How Educating Employees and Employers Leads to Higher Plan Satisfaction

Today, there is an overwhelming amount of information available online. As Mitchell Kapor says, “getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant”.

That’s why it’s important to focus on the right lessons. You can educate your clients on what matters by asking future-based questions to find out what’s most important to them. Asking “if we were meeting here three years from today, what has to have happened for you to say this has been the best three years of your life?” is a great place to start planning for your client’s future.

Let’s look at this case study example to see how educating a client about long-term outcomes led to higher plan satisfaction:

Case Study: Educating Clients about Long-Term Outcomes

A well-established benefits client in the service industry had 50 fulltime employees, high employee turnover, and a basic benefits plan. A union had begun sniffing around, and they knew they needed to take action quickly to keep the union at bay.

Educating employees and employers is one way to add value and increase satisfaction with your client’s benefits plan.In this case, the solution was to educate the employer on the union plan offering and redesign their current benefits offering. Once the plan was modified, employees were also educated on the new plan.

The advisor was able to match the union plan, and improve on it by staggering the reimbursement levels based on seniority:

  • 3 months to 2 years: 60% reimbursement (less than union plan)
  • 2-4 years: 85% reimbursement (same as union plan)
  • 4+ years: 95% reimbursement (more than union plan)

With the improved benefits plan in place, the union left the company alone. However, a new problem arose: the company’s CFO was not happy with the cost increase associated with the new benefits plan, both at the first and second renewals.

Fortunately, this was solved through further education. The advisor explained that although the benefits plan cost had increased, significant improvements in other areas offset this expense:

  • Decreased employee turnover
  • Lower training costs for new employees
  • Client surveys showed a major improvement in satisfaction with the company

The new benefits plan improved employee retention by motivating employees to reach higher reimbursement levels with seniority, and in turn, encouraged employees to put forth their best efforts in keeping clients happy.

Ask, Educate, and Add Value

Want to create higher plan satisfaction? Ask great questions, educate to add value, continue to educate, and be the trusted advisor.

Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we will discuss the importance of knowing what you’re shopping for before you shop around.

The Benefits Trust helps successful business owners build a better benefits plan than they can get anywhere else. Get in touch with us today!

Don’t miss our conversation-starter resource: 101 Sales Questions Every Benefits Advisor Should Know.

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