For many HR professionals, fully managing the employee benefits process is an overwhelming endeavor. Often, it is beneficial to rely on the expertise and efficiency of a benefits broker.
Advisor, consultant, agent – brokers have many monikers, though their role in the employee benefits space is essentially the same.
Whether you currently employ a benefits broker or you are in the market for a new benefits advisor, there are certain pressing topics that must be addressed on an ongoing basis.
Managing ongoing relationships and vetting new potential partners can be stressful. How can you ensure that a benefits broker truly has your company’s best interests in mind?
We’ve got your script – 9 questions to ask your benefits broker right now.
“How do you control health care costs?”
Controlling costs is a high priority for HR leaders. Balancing appealing compensation packages for recruiting and retention while eyeing the bottom line is a constant challenge for internal teams. How will your broker work with you to develop attractive benefits packages at a reasonable cost? A good benefits broker will be able to make data-driven recommendations for your organization and offer industry statistics to ensure you are in-line with other companies in your market or in a similar industry.
“How will you determine the right plans for my company?”
Health care offerings, pricing and regulations are constantly changing. How will your benefits consultant determine the right plan or plans for your company? Your broker should offer the skills and expertise to design best-in-class packages for your organization that meet the needs of your unique workforce in addition to your financial requirements. These plans should be evaluated on an annual basis and adjustments should be made to maintain package offerings and price parity.
“How will you help me streamline my open enrollment process?”
The ‘Super Bowl of Benefits’, open enrollment is likely your busiest time of year. How will your broker support you during this hectic time? An experienced benefits broker will audit your current open enrollment process and be able to provide communication best practices, tools to help make your open enrollment more streamlined and recommendations on how to improve the entire process.
“How will you help me craft benefits communications?”
HR professionals hardly have time to moonlight as marketing professionals. How will your benefits broker help your internal teams follow communication best practices to better educate your employees on current benefits, open enrollment periods, etc.? Ideally, your broker will have best practices and tools on-hand to help you craft meaningful messages throughout the year.
“What kind of benefits and human capital management tools do you offer?”
One of the primary perks of working with a benefits broker is skipping the technology vetting process. A good benefits broker will either offer their own technology solution or will work with several different vendors to provide customized recommendations. It is important to have a full understanding of how the broker works with technology solutions, what platforms they use, and how these tools can help you run an efficient and effective HR department.
“How do you ensure that your clients maintain compliance?”
Compliance is an absolute must for industry regulations and non-compliance can result in devastating fines. How will your benefits broker help you manage and maintain compliance with programs like ACA, HIPPA, FMLA and others? An experienced broker partner will treat your company’s compliance like their own company’s compliance and will offer tools and solutions to make risk mitigation and compliance easy.
“Will I have a dedicated account manager?”
Unanswered phone calls and unopened emails could be a huge problem during crucial benefits periods. Having a dedicated account or support manager will ensure that you have an exclusive point of contact for any and all questions. Aim to work with a broker that is a true partner and that offers a robust customer support model.
“How do you handle the renewal process?”
Typically, the plan renewal process begins 45 to 60 days prior to the renewal date. However, you certainly don’t want to wait until the last minute to review year-to-year plan and price changes. Your broker should be a year-round partner and should proactively advocate for you throughout the year by gathering competitive quotes and negotiating rates and plan details. And, if changes are inevitable, your broker should come armed with recommendations.
“Do you have a list of references?”
You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive and you wouldn’t buy a house without a walkthrough, so why would you sign on the dotted line with a benefits broker before fully vetting their experience? Ask any potential brokers for references so that you can hear first-hand how your experience will be from people who have been there.
Want To Know More?
Learn more about how PlanSource partners with insurance and benefits brokers to provide a better benefits experience. Or, contact us below for a complimentary walk-through.