From ChamberChoice & Smart Business Pittsburgh
Benefits costs and employee expectations continue to rise. So, the expertise offered from your benefits broker is a critical consideration.
“Most employers struggle to maintain insurance coverage and a healthy financial bottom line. Historically brokers earned your business by representing the lowest price. But in today’s employee benefits landscape, you need experienced representation that delivers beyond the lowest price insurance plans. Premium and fee pricing differentiation represented by agents and brokers is largely marginal.
“Today, the balance between coverage and cost is achieved by differentiation in consultative services, supplemental benefits and complementary products and services,” says Dennis Spingola, vice president of operations at JRG Advisors.
Smart Business spoke with Spingola about getting the most from the employee benefits broker relationship.
What can a consultative broker offer?
A consultative broker can do much more than just place your coverage. A consultative broker is a partner who learns about your challenges and needs, and supports you with a variety of resources and services.
Serving in an advisory role, a consultative broker develops the customized multiyear strategic plan to achieve your objectives now and into the future. The plan may include streamlining HR operations, implementing wellness platforms, and accessing data to support plan designs and funding alternatives. Above all, a consultative broker is your partner, educational resource and champion of your initiatives and requirements.
What is an example of a results-driven strategy?
An alternative premium funding arrangement is a popular strategy that supports health risk management and wellness initiatives. A consultative broker will carefully consider the many options of funding to ensure there is a plan to meet long-term goals for the business, while minimizing disruption to the workforce.
The inclusive funding approach can lead to informed, engaged and healthier employees and family members. Not only does this curb the costs of health care, it can lead to less absenteeism due to illness, more productive employees and improved morale. The consultative broker can combine the funding arrangement that works for you with a wellness program that includes everything you need to implement, monitor and measure outcomes.
How might a consultative broker handle risk management and HR support?
Proper management of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Affordable Care Act compliance requirements is of significant importance. The consultative broker will remove the burden of complicated mandates and mitigate the risk of costly fines associated with a Department of Labor audit. Education is paramount in this area, so timely bulletins explaining new and changing rules and regulations are key. Working with a consultative broker who makes available an ERISA attorney is another differentiator for peace of mind and reduced overall costs.
HR responsibilities and benefits administration can be daunting. HR professionals are asked to do more than ever before. A consultative broker provides access to employee newsletters and benefits announcements, as well as sample documents and expert advice for crafting policies, forms, benefits summary statements, handbooks and more. Providing technology for online 24/7 access to an array of resources, coupled with an employee self-serve benefits portal, is a game changer.
Employers are faced with a variety of issues when it comes to running a successful enterprise. Choose a benefits professional who is consultative and equipped to provide the range of solutions and creative strategy that solves your challenges and supports your business objectives.
Insights Employee Benefits is brought to you by JRG Advisors