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SUGGESTIONS FOR BUILDING A MENU OF VOLUNTARY / WORKSITE EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS AND CARRIERS


Posted by Eide - 216.577.5579, Philip at Monday, 09/03/2012 9:38 pm
 
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One of the Most Common Questions we receive from Brokers and Employers - as well as from Enrollment Companies, TPAS, and Payroll Companies - is "What Plans and Carriers to include in the Menu of Voluntary/Worksite Benefits to offer the Employees in their Plan Design and Strategy"?

A Look At The Past - Twenty-five years ago when our original Company, Vesta Ltd., became involved in the then called "Payroll" Deducted Benefit Marketplace, the "Boutique" Carriers could be counted on one hand and the same for the Number of Plans. The "Choices" to be made by Brokers, Employers, and Employees were limited and simple. The Plans were easy to understand, enrollment was on a paper application, and we, Voluntary Broker/Agents, worked around - not with - the Brokers for the Core Benefits - Health, Dental, Vision, etc.

Since Then - At an ever-increasing pace, traditional old line Carriers have entered this market. The allure for Carriers has been the Employer's and Broker's willingness to "Sponsor" the Plans, Programs, and Services; the Employees' acceptance and participation (Penetration); and the Employees staying on the Plans (Persistency) - as well as the Margins and Profits. There are now a plethora of Insurance and Non-Insurance based Plans, Programs, and Services available.

The number of Brokers entering this Marketplace has increased dramatically. Traditional Core Benefit Brokers - with portfolios of existing Clients - have entered the market to leverage their relationships and to replace reduced income from traditional Health Insurance commissions. Voluntary Brokers - focused specifically on the Voluntary Plans and their Enrollment - have been flooding this marketplace by the lure of generous Commissions and Renewals. According to Eastbridge Consulting, an authority on Voluntary Benefits, --

"Overall voluntary sales were up in 2011 at $5.478 billion in premium and the largest producer segment, Benefit Brokers, pushed this along with increased sales. The segment generated about $3 billion in new sales, an 11 percent increase over 2010 sales. The Benefit Broker’s share of total voluntary sales is now at 55 percent, up from 52 percent last year." Eastbridge Consulting Group’s 2011 U.S. Worksite/Voluntary Sales Report May 31,2012".

For the Brokers - as well as the Enrollment Companies, TPAs, and Payroll Companies who have entered this lucrative market - the decision about which Plans to offer and which Carrier(s) to use has become a major Question and at times a Problem. The Carriers claim to offer the best Plans, Programs, and Services in each of their Market Sectors. In many cases the Carrier's established "Branded" name gives them credibility. The partial List of Plans below is meant to be a "Starting Point" in the decision-making process. We recommend doing your research, performing due diligence, getting references, and asking for recommendations of others in the Industries!

Here's a Place To Start - Below - A list of Plans, Programs, and Services (alphabetized). Please go to BenefitPlace.biz for information about Plans and Carriers or contact max@benefitplace.biz. for more information. The Carriers Listed are not recommendations. Carriers that would like to be Listed should contact the above Email.

NOTE - As you begin your review of Plans, it s important to remember:

>Make sure the Employer and their Management Staff fully support your efforts.
>When introducing "Choice" to the Employees in the 1st year, it is wise to offer a limited number of Plans, Programs, and Services until Employees become acquainted with the Strategy, Tax Ramifications, Enrollment Process, etc.
>Selecting an "Enrollment Process" is extremely important.
>Make sure that the "Voluntary Plans" are integrated with the "Core Benefits".
>When possible, include the Spouse in the decision-making" process.
>When investigating the "Choices", look for Guaranteed Issue or Simplified Issue, Portability, the simplicity of the "Claims Process", and the Stability of Premiums or Costs.

Alphabetized List of Plans, Programs, and Services with Links to more information:
Accident
Annuities
Auto Insurance
Dental - Insurance based and Discount Cards
Cancer
Critical Illness (CI)
Discount Retail Cards
High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs)
Home Insurance
Hospital Income Plans (HI)
Identity Theft
Legal Plans
Life Insurance - Term, UL , WL
Limited Benefit Plans
Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI)
Long Term Disability (LTD)
Pet Insurance and Discount Plans

Reimbursement Accounts - For Tax Savings
Dependent Care
HSAs
HRAs
Medical/Health
Transportation
Retirement Plans
Short Term Disability
Travel Insurance
Vision Plans - Insurance Based and Discount Cards

We wish all parties to the Benefits Decision-Making Process the Best of Success as they enter the Employee Benefits Season. When implementing Voluntary/Worksite Strategies we remind all parties to emphasize the Employee Education, Communication, Enrollment, and Data Management Processes. When in doubt, find a Qualified Partner.

Contact Information: Phil Eide -- BenefitPlace.biz -- Email max@benefitplace.biz -- Phone -- 216.577.5579