Renewal season is going to look a lot different this year. Gone are the days of stopping by at your clients’ offices to discuss their benefit offerings in-person. Instead, many of these meetings will need to be done virtually using software.
And there’s a lot you need to cover during these meetings. Your clients are going to need your guidance now more than ever. COVID-19 has brought seismic changes to the world around us and the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic means that many of your clients will want to more closely examine their benefits offerings as they look for ways to better manage their costs.
Here are four key things to remember when advising your clients this renewal season.
1. Provide Health Plan Benchmarking
Employee benefits are one of the largest costs for any employer. Offering the right benefits package is critical for retaining employees, but it can be challenging to determine which employee health plans are both competitive and cost-effective.
And this is even more true in the COVID-19 world. Employees likely recognize now, more than ever, the importance of health insurance and will value it highly in the job market moving forward. Making sure your clients are offering a competitive employee benefits package will be essential to them retaining top talent.
Help your clients understand how their health plans stack up using health plan design benchmarking tools. Compare plan designs to similar businesses and help them identify where they are spending too much or too little.
When evaluating plan benchmarking tools, remember to look for a database with a wide range of employer data (the more employers, the better) and that can be filtered by criteria like geography, funding type, industry code and employee count, so you can deliver the best advice possible to support your clients’ benefits strategy.
2. Offer Cost-Containment Advice
Another key area to advise on this renewal season is cost containment. Managing health care costs will likely be a top priority for any client or prospect you meet with.
While some clients may have actually seen a dip in their employees’ health care spending due to the pandemic suspending some health services, it’s important to remind clients this is just a temporary dip.
Some studies, such this analysis from Willis Towers Watson, estimates that self-insured employers may see a 4% reduction in employees’ health care costs this year. However, premiums are still expected to rise in 2021, with Covered California projecting premiums will increase between 4%-40% nationally.
Provide your clients with the cost-containment strategies they need by using technology to evaluate where plan members are spending the most, whether that be in-network vs. out-of-network provider care, prescription drugs or chronic illnesses. Once you’ve identified what’s driving claims activity, you can then showcase your value even further by working with your clients to create actionable strategies to help them lower their health care costs.
3. Evaluate Funding Options
Furthermore, when it comes to your clients’ health insurance, don’t forget to educate them about self-funding versus level-funding, as alternatives to fully insured offerings, and what impact this could have on their bottom lines. By conducting a funding analysis with the help of digital solutions, you can walk employers through different funding options and showcase how different funding strategies can impact their costs and plan options.
Offering this guidance can empower your clients to make the best possible decision for their business. Providing this type of analysis can also be a great way to get in the door with new prospects, as their current insurance broker may not have fully explored all their funding options with them.
4. Protect Clients From Fees & Penalties
Lastly, it’s important to not overlook compliance. After all, employee benefits can be incredibly complicated and it can be difficult for clients and prospects to stay up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations, especially when so much has changed this year.
That’s where you can prove your value and advise them as their insurance agent.
Help your clients analyze their current plans using compliance diagnostic solutions. These solutions allow you to work alongside your clients and prospects to review their current employee benefit plans to identify compliance concerns so you deliver a benefits package that will protect them from penalties or fees—and what client doesn’t want that?
Be the Trusted Business Advisor Your Clients Need
With everything going on in the world, your clients need your support and guidance now more than ever. The insurance brokers that can truly step in and serve as a trusted business partner will be the ones that win new business and gain customer loyalty for the years to come.
For more information on how to deliver a tech-inspired experience this renewal season, visit this page.