In the employer benefits world, there are a lot of programs and products that you can sell that are being sold and offered to employees and former employees today; they are, of course, Group health insurance, and Prescription drugs coverage. This can be offered through a variety of insured and self -funded options, as well as creating a captive insurance program to fund the most volatile cost of this benefit.
We’ll get into that a little bit later. Aside of health insurance you can also sell retiree health insurance. The retiree benefits insurance business is one that is really in need of some guidance. There are many reasons for that, but the most relevant is the thought process that has come as a result of the ACA that the best option for everybody is to terminate the current retiree plan and send the retirees to an open exchange so they can have a wide variety of choices. We’ll get into that and some problems associated with that in a bit as well.
Dental insurance is another great opportunity for you to come in and offer something or fix something that’s causing a challenge and a problem for an employer.
Aside from the dental insurance there are vision products and a myriad of voluntary products that you could be offering to your client, including but not necessarily limited to long term care, long term disability, short term disability, including pet? insurance of all things.
Now, each one of those programs can be sold to employer groups, to the employees through the employer groups, and we’re going to talk a little bit about each one of those.
Working with carriers
A lot of people are afraid to approach and really don’t know how to approach a carrier. So, I will take you through what I would do when I go approach a carrier.
I’d first of all find who had the best programs and opportunities for the clients and I would make a contact with a carrier. I would look them up online and I would look them up in the phone book and I would call the main number and ask who are the people that I should be talking to.
Now, as employer benefit professionals we have an advantage – we can actually go and look on Linkedln, or we can go and look on the internet and google the insurance companies there. And we are going to look and see who’s coming up on what program, and then we just look on that and nine times out of the ten you are going to see something that says For the public or For brokers. Call them, let them know what you are trying to do and ask them what programs are available to you as a benefit professional, who wants to offer or sell their product in a specific state.
Most of these companies will have a group benefit professional, group rep, whose job is to help you sell benefits and in doing so they won’t make any money unless they help you make some money through the sale of one of their programs, products or services.
Identifying the carrier partners or, I should say, the qualified carrier partners, should be easier once you understand the programs that you’re going to be offered. An example: one of the most popular health insurance carriers in the country is Blue Cross Blue Shield, second is United Health. Does that mean they are the best? The answer is no, it doesn’t mean they are the best. As a matter of fact, for most employer groups they tend to be a little more expensive, because they are holding the heavy burden of the brand that they built twenty, thirty, fourty years ago or more. And in this environment employers should be really be looking at what they are getting for the money they are spending.
The entire process comes to We’re just going to give business to Blue Cross, that time is coming to an end. Because of the costs associated with the benefits, employers really need to be at their best to determine what’s best for them. And that again is where you come in as a benefit professional. You are the folks that telling these people for your experience and your research and your diligence what’s going to be in their best interest. And I’m not talking just about spread sheeting something, this company is for this, this one is for that, why is it better, why would it be better for company A over company B in this instance. And we are going to go into discussing why that is and give you some real examples of how to do and how to show some of those comparisons.
A benefit is a benefit is a benefit. But how that benefit works internally to the company, how the benefit is paid and administrated internally to that company, dictates the value to the benefit purchaser? And in this case and in most instances the benefit purchasers, the bulk of it, anyway, is the employer
Author: Marc S. Gilday