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Evaluating Your Benefits Broker Relationship: 5 Important Questions To Ask

The receptionist calls to let you know that your insurance benefits broker has arrived – it’s that time of year again – time to talk renewals.

In walks the benefits broker you’ve had for the last ten years. You exchange the usual pleasantries, but they’re ready to get right down to business. Now, don’t get me wrong, you like your benefits broker. They are nice people and always return your calls. They resolve issues when you ask, and are glad to come out and see you once or twice a year. But is that enough? Are they really adding value to your business and to your employees?

Unexpectedly, your broker delivers the news – your renewal this year is increasing 14%. It is just under two months until your renewal date, and your million-dollar healthcare spend is going up. Business is tough and you can’t imagine passing on an increase in premiums to your employees for a third straight year.

You’ve always looked to your broker for answers, but you can’t help but think that they might not be providing you with the best options for the prosperity of your business. You will take any advice, creative ideas, or alternative strategies to avoid passing on an increase and ultimately delivering more negative news to your employees.

Ask Yourself: Is It Time to Consider a Change in Benefits Broker?

When evaluating your broker relationship or considering changing brokers, ask yourself the following questions to ensure that you will get the most out of your partnership:

  1. How have my needs and expectations evolved with respect to what my broker brings to our organization?
  2. Are we being challenged with the most progressive ideas and strategies to help control cost while improving our benefit offerings?
  3. How does my broker and the solutions they bring to the table support my employees? Have they focused time and resources on providing overall benefits education and are my employees smarter consumers and satisfied with my benefit programs as a result?
  4. Have we progressed in areas such as technology, benefits administration, and compliance? The modern broker needs to be well-versed in supporting advancements that will evolve and drive business and financial efficiencies.
  5.  Is our broker looking at our employee benefit strategy on a year-to-year basis and in a reactionary manner that really only focuses on cost-shifting? Additionally, are we letting the insurance markets dictate our strategy or are we purposeful in building and actively managing a three-year benefits vision that takes into account the goals of our business and corporate culture?

In meeting with my prospective clients, I constantly look for ways to redefine their happiness, their satisfaction and their expectations of our relationship. I look to re-establish the “bar” that has been set and respectfully challenge clients to keep an open mind to new and creative ideas, services, and direction. An important part of the value that I bring is an ability to lead my clients to new but proven long-term strategies that put the best interest of their business at the heart of their benefits strategy. I see complacency in our industry far too often and while relationship continues to be extremely important, it is imperative that we essentially re-sell our clients year over year on the value and proactive thinking that we bring to their business."

While many brokers in this business see challenge—more recently with compliance and the Affordable Care Act, I see a healthcare and benefits landscape full of opportunity. As you seek to get the most out of your insurance broker partnership, keep the five questions I have outlined in mind. As a business leader, you want to come away with a clear sense that you are in not just good—but excellent hands. Ultimately you should view your benefits broker as a proactive, strategic partner who has your best interests in mind and who genuinely cares about your business and your employees.

A trusted benefits broker who delivers that kind of peace of mind is just who you’ll want to turn to as you navigate what is a challenging, yet opportunity-filled benefits future.

Your employees drive your business forward and they deserve the best possible benefits. Contact a OneDigital Strategist to discover what innovation you can bring into your benefits plan design.