- April 1, 2021
- Posted by: adam
- Category: Employee Benefits, HR Admin, HR Strategy, Vendor/Broker Relationship
For most employers, the story is the same every year. They don’t hear from their benefits broker until renewal starts to appear around the corner, and then it’s spreadsheets, rising premiums, and more spreadsheets. The world of insurance is confusing and frustrating, and for many employers, this leads them to seek out second opinions from multiple brokers. Why wouldn’t you? Even if your goal is just to keep your current broker honest, it’s only common sense to get second opinions on a purchase that large.
But here’s the problem. Almost without fail, the brokers you talk to will get the same numbers from the carriers, bring in the same spreadsheets, and will likely tell you about their services, which are the same as every other broker. Benefits admin support, compliance support, HR services—the list goes on, and it’s almost always the same.
You still have to make that gut-wrenching purchase come renewal time, and you still feel in the dark about your options.
So how do you decide which broker to go with if everything they’re offering is the same? That’s where many brokers and employers alike would point to the “relationship” part of the business. They would say it all comes down to who you like the best.
But we disagree. There is a different kind of broker out there—one that doesn’t look the same as the rest and can offer you something different—something better.
What you really need
While every year you feel the same frustration and anxiety around having to make an extremely (and increasingly) expensive investment in your employees, how much do you really understand about why you’re making that particular purchase?
The reality is most employers simply don’t have enough real experience with the world of insurance other than that dreaded yearly renewal process. This leaves them at the mercy of their broker and relying on others to tell them what’s best for their business.
While this makes sense—the world of insurance is increasingly confusing and constantly changing—it’s simply not sustainable. What employers need is to have the power to make an informed and educated decision when it comes to their benefits plan. They need to have the kind of power only true understanding can bring.
How to differentiate
So it’s time to start looking for something different in your broker. Here’s how to spot it. While the benefits broker you’re used to will:
- Only get in touch with you when it comes time to renew
- Offer you the same spreadsheet and the same services every year
- Assure you their service is the best and that’s what sets them apart
- Hand you their non-insurance solutions and call it good
- Completely fall off your radar once you’ve renewed
The benefits broker you want:
- Shows up well before you have to start thinking about renewals
- Starts off the conversation by uncovering your goals and challenges
- Focuses on educating you about your options
- Isn’t interested in forcing you to buy unless their solution improves your business
- Continues to provide you with advice and education throughout the year
- Supports the use of non-insurance solutions via training, communication, and education
The first type of broker wants you to buy from them and pick them out among the rest. While the second type also wants that, their first priority is to help you improve your business and make an impact in the lives of your employees. What you need isn’t a benefits broker—what you need is a benefits advisor.
So you can make the most informed decision for your business without blindly relying on a handful of brokers at renewal telling you the same thing over and over. So you won’t make the mistake of simply sticking to what you know just because you know it, passing over opportunities to make massive savings because you don’t understand them, and thus don’t trust them (yes, this really happens).
The world of insurance is growing and changing, and employers need to be able to grow and change along with it—and that requires employers to become educated about their situation and their options.
The bottom line is you don’t have to settle for the same type of broker. In fact, you shouldn’t. You and the people your business supports deserve the best service and the best benefits available—and you can only get that by having the power to make informed decisions yourself.
Start expecting your broker to teach you. Start asking questions and expecting answers. Look for a broker who focuses on education, year-round communication, and who takes the time to help you fully understand all your options. You deserve more than the same old story. It’s time to expect a new one.
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Photo by Volodymyr Melnyk