Whether we like to admit it or not, the employee benefits landscape is changing, fast. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% in September, the lowest level since December 1969.1 Add this to the ever-shrinking talent pool, and you get employees feeling confident enough to find opportunities elsewhere. These shifting conditions can feel shaky at best and downright unstable at worst. So, where’s the broker in all of this? Or should you even be called “broker” at all when your role really is to be a savvy benefits adviser to adapt to these changing times.
So, what makes up the savvy benefits adviser?
Things to Consider in 2019
Before diving too deep into the details, there are a few main points that affect all advisers in big ways. These three will remain prevalent throughout 2019:
- Rapidly changing regulations: Federal and state government are constantly creating, deleting and changing health benefits policies.
- Need to attract and retain key employees and prevent high turnover costs: As mentioned, due to the current employment conditions, it’s harder than ever for employers, or your clients, to hold on to key talent.
- Desire to do everything online: While paper isn’t dead, both employers and employees prefer the speed that an online system provides.
The Role of the Benefits Adviser Is Evolving
Because of these trends, advisers have to realize the focus is shifting to individual employee’s needs. The days of one quote a year and done are long gone. Instead, advisers should try to:
- Contact clients more often than in the past to keep their interest.
- Offer fast, friendly service so clients continue to come back.
- Go beyond insurance. The best advisers solve business problems, not just benefit problems.
Small Businesses Are Increasingly Important
Often overlooked are the 32,000,0002 small businesses throughout the U.S. But the new benefits adviser would know that:
- Almost 50% of employees worked for a small business in 2018.2
- Small businesses create about 2 out of 3 new jobs in the U.S. each year.2
- 40% of employees for small businesses have left a job because of lack of benefits.3
Streamlining the Process
40% of companies do not use an online platform or software for plan enrollment.3 Yet, advisers have the ability to streamline enrollment with any number of proven tools that suit client desires to fulfill online. Utilizing such tools soothes the 67% of employers who are interested in portals and programs that show benefits usage.3 These adviser tools should include:
- Fast and accurate quotes
- Itemized premium charges
- Exact benefits spending
- Payroll summaries
Now then, it’s no wonder 52% of advisers feel their success and the success of their clients relies on technological innovation.3
Advisers Must Meet Employers Where They Are
Consider that premiums have risen for the 6th straight year with no signs of trend reversal. It’s a trend you as an adviser can’t fix, but you usually are asked to find ways to mitigate. But the savvy adviser will also recognize the opportunity to understand all of the employee related costs to a company, such as turnover and compensation costs, not just offering health insurance benefits. By looking at all these costs in tandem, the right solutions for your clients might just be different than if you are trying to address rising health benefit costs in isolation.
This is where ArmadaCare’s solutions come in. Our expense reimbursed insured solutions are designed to help address a broader scope of costs related to retaining and recruiting talent by targeting benefit enhancements to areas where they are most needed. The new benefits adviser knows that clients will increasingly be looking at benefits to stay competitive in the war for talent when salary and bonuses won’t do the trick.
The New Benefits Adviser
While it may seem like a lot, adapting to the new benefits landscape will be a rewarding experience for any broker who’s willing to make the change. The new benefits adviser seeks out the best service and delivers on it when considering these trends. 2019 is sure to show the fruits of labor for these experts leading the way in health insurance benefits excellence.
2 U.S. Small Business Association