BenefitsPro: Employers Turn to Broker Partners for Help with Recruitment, Retention Issues
The partnership role of the broker is taking on even greater importance as employers respond to impact of the Great Resignation on their workforce.
With many employees willing to change jobs for better benefits, employers are focused on ensuring employees and candidates alike understand their benefits and have the support needed to use their coverage effectively. This pressure to effectively communicate their benefit offerings, combined with pending new regulations around price transparency, means employers are relying on broker partners even more heavily for guidance.
DirectPath surveyed health insurance brokers on what services they currently offer, which services deliver the most business value and how their models are likely to evolve to help them compete in the coming year. This is what they said:
Demand for price transparency remains at the forefront. Cost containment continues to be a challenge for employers, with 89% of brokers reporting that clients rely on them to contain health-care costs. One popular area of focus for employers continues to be increased price transparency, with insight into what they are spending on health care as well as educating employees about why and how they should “shop” for care.
Focus on employee support. Ninety-five percent of brokers report seeing moderate to high demand for help with benefits communication. Most brokers already provide support to their clients in this area, with 72% offering a full gamut of help with materials, virtual presentations, in-person support and vendor recommendations. In fact, brokers see benefits communications support as adding more value to their business (68%) than ERISA and ACA compliance (59%) or benefits administration services (53%).
Demand for voluntary benefits has grown. Brokers have seen almost a 60% increase in clients adding voluntary benefits in the past year. Accident insurance (78%), critical illness (73%) and hospital indemnity (60%) are at the top of the list.
Product innovations to enhance employee engagement. Almost half of brokers responded that they recommend benefits administration partners to clients annually, with another 36% making such recommendations every three years. Clients are looking to brokers to provide recommendations on technology partners who improve ease of use, have API/third-party integrations and provide ACA management and compliance support.
“New products and services aside, brokers understand that their success depends on their ability to truly connect and partner with their clients,” the survey report concluded. “Eighty-six percent of respondents reported that their success depended on their ability to provide superior customer service and relationships, and 65% cited the ability to recruit and retain the best employees. Having an impressive suite of innovative products and services and cutting-edge technology to bring to bear on client challenges will accomplish little if your clients don’t view you as a trusted strategic partner.”
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(Alan Goforth is a writer for BenefitsPro)