The New Benefits Blueprint

How to Deliver Fortune 100 Benefits

Start with a complete portfolio evaluation.

In this month’s video for The New Benefits Blueprint, Bob Gearhart Jr., CEO of DCW Group, introduces the firm’s process for delivering benefits to employees. I joined the firm two years ago as enhanced-benefits specialist and enrollment coordinator to incorporate this process into a comprehensive benefits strategy for our clients.

Having worked in the space for a decade, I understand that the way in which one delivers benefits is just as as important as the benefits offered. This process has been refined through the integration of technology and human interaction to deliver concierge one-on-one enrollments to employees, move employers benefits administration online and offer the customization of benefits usually reserved for the Fortune 100.

The process begins with a comprehensive evaluation of a client’s benefit portfolio, including traditional employer-contributed benefits such as medical, dental, vision and basic life, as well as voluntary employee-paid benefits such as accident, critical illness and often disability.

If more than one broker is managing these benefits, those representatives likely lack a comprehensive understanding of the employer-funded benefits and how they interact with the other benefits offered.

Overinsuring can and does occur without a proper strategy and when more than one broker is managing different lines of benefits. During an audit of a new client, our research uncovered something truly troubling. The company paid for short-term disability (STD) for all of its employees. It also allowed carrier sales reps to sell employee-funded STD policies alongside the already installed employer-funded group STD plan.

Whatever the motives, the disconnected carrier sales rep placed product with zero strategy whatsoever leading to more than 80% of the employees being insured for more than 100% of their annual salary worth of STD coverage.

This, by definition, is overinsuring income because employees should not be insured to make more money from a disability policy than they earn while actively working. Strategic partner alignment could have prevented this redundancy.

If your broker is not looking at all benefits comprehensively, your company and your employees are at risk of overinsurance too.

After a comprehensive market evaluation, our clients are better equipped to offer competitive benefits. But the real competitive edge is the way the benefits are delivered.

When one of your company’s top three expenses is employee benefits, the way that expense is presented matters. Onsite benefit counselor-guided enrollments provide the concierge style, white-glove service that should be expected from such a significant investment.

Negotiating the complexities of medical insurance options can be overwhelming for most people. For the employee, the simple math problem of electing the lowest-cost option is compounded with real-life variables such as chronic health challenges, planned and unplanned medical procedures or alternate insurance solutions.

During a benefit counselor-guided enrollment, employees have the ability to meet individually with a licensed insurance professional of their designated state. The conversation is private and confidential. Employees are free to disclose personal or family health concerns they may not feel comfortable disclosing to their employers or sharing in a company meeting. This open dialogue allows the employee to make educated decisions regarding his insurance options based on his individual/family health-care needs and financial limitations.

Conducting the enrollment online through benefit administration technology provides easy documented tracking and reporting for your company records — without mountains of illegible paperwork and space consuming filing systems. The platform provides capabilities for integration with carriers and vendors such as COBRA and payroll.

Without benefit counselors, many clients would struggle with moving employee data to an online platform. For example, blue-collar industries, such as manufacturers that lack regular access to computers, can now be guided through this process during open enrollment with the assistance of benefit counselors.

A little-known fact of most enrollment firms and carrier sales representatives is they use an enrollment platform hosted by the insurance carrier instead of investing in a true benefits administration system for you and your company. Therefore, your company does not own your employee data nor can you access it when you need it, making it harder to change carriers should that be the right move for your company.

Another problem with traditional worksite enrollments is that the commission structure is heavily weighted to the first year. Consequently, the representatives can be overly aggressive in trying to sell your employees products they don’t need. The solution is paying counselors flat rates based on a predetermined schedule, not sales volumes. Employees notice the difference because counselors are not pushy; rather they act as consultants.

The secret here is that most of you are likely already partially committing to part of the process. If you’re bringing in a separate broker for your worksite benefits such as accident or critical illness, you’re halfway to bringing together a comprehensive strategy.

Finding the right partner makes it possible to conduct face-to-face enrollments with your workforce; use that opportunity to move your benefits administration online, and deliver a first-class benefits-buying experience. If you’d like to learn more or schedule a time to discuss visit our website at DCWgrp.com.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.