The season leading up to open enrollment is a good time to focus on winning new business and growing your agency. However, if you concentrate on the same strategies year after year, you might not be able to see the kind of business growth you would like to. For this reason, we encourage you to revisit your strategy for winning new clients by introducing online benefits enrollment to your offering. If you are able to invest a few weeks of your summer on bringing your agency online, you’ll improve the employee benefits enrollment experience and produce amazing returns in terms of new clients before Q4 and into 2021. In this Broker Tool Belt post, we share the reasons why online benefits enrollment will help you win new BORs.
When you offer online benefits enrollment, you are adding a new layer to your competitive advantage. The future of benefits is in technology. In the past five years, the industry has seen a 165% growth rate in the number of employees using web-based technology for benefits enrollment. A high percentage of employers are currently using paper, but searching for a technology solution to administer benefits. By solving this problem, you will gain their attention, win new business, and create stickiness with new clients. Keep in mind that as more and more brokers go online, this competitive differentiator will become more of a deal-qualifier than a deal-winner. Meaning, a technology solution will be a requirement to get a seat at the table, so the time is now.
In addition, small organizations are the fastest-growing segment of new HR technology buyers. Providing a technology solution that addresses your clients’ pain points, beyond benefits, allows you to present yourself as the comprehensive benefits advisor they need. Most technology solutions expand their domain beyond benefits, allowing you to offer your clients a system to process components of the HR ecosystem, such as onboarding or PTO tracking. You need to start wearing the hat of a broader benefits advisor expert. Incorporating benefits, HR, and technology to your value proposition will be a great differentiator.
Boost Efficiency With Online Benefits Enrollment
While the summer has recently begun, the busy season is coming up quickly, and it’s time to start gearing up for stressful deadlines, paperwork, and client support. Traditionally, open enrollment is inefficient and operationally frustrating. First, there are endless forms for employees to fill out. Second, employers have to scan or fax the forms to you. Third, you review them and, if there are errors, you have to send them back to the employee for corrections. Fourth, you need to send all the information to carriers. And this is not the end, next comes the record maintenance—every time there is a change, you are back in the middle of the paperwork.
With online benefits enrollment, all these steps are done within minutes and remotely. Employers want a smooth open enrollment and an efficient process for adds, changes, or terminations. Therefore, in your sales and renewal meetings, remember to always emphasize how your technology solution will make the benefits enrollment process easier and a better experience for all.
If you were to adopt a technology solution, below are some of the improvements you could outline in your sales meetings with prospective HR professionals or renewal meetings with current clients. Keep in mind that every solution is different, but these are some potential improvements technology will bring compared to paper enrollment.
- Fewer mistakes thanks to a rules-based system that will highlight which fields are required before an employee can complete enrollment.
- Faster enrollments because employees only enter their information once and can digitally sign enrollment forms.
- Ability to determine which employees are eligible for the plans you add and when.
- Access to a dashboard with enrollment progress details.
- Time saved at renewal by copying plan information from the previous year.
- Direct submission to General Agents, Carriers, and TPA partners. By submitting enrollment data directly to carriers, the process is faster and safer.
Improve the Employee Experience
By implementing online benefits enrollment to your offering, you won’t only be making the process easier and faster for everyone, but you’ll be also granting employees the chance to make better healthcare decisions by putting copays, coverage, and actual costs at their fingertips. In the HR Technology & Benefits Administration Survey conducted by Pacific Resources, 88.8% of employers felt that cost calculators, plan comparison tools, and guided decision-support tools that help employees select benefits that meet their personal and family needs were effective.
In addition, a technology solution will also improve the employee benefits enrollment experience by allowing them to access important benefits details 24/7 and discuss benefit options at home with their dependents. In this sense, as consumers continue to use their mobile devices as their primary point of access to their information and the internet, you can no longer afford to ignore this trend. For example, doctors’ offices accept digital insurance cards and most employees want the ability to present them on their mobile phones.
One of the responsibilities HR professionals undertake is understanding and meeting employees’ needs. If you present a technology solution in your sales and renewal meetings that is going to streamline and make their duties easier, while making employees happier, you’ll most likely be considered a front runner.
Final Thoughts About Online Benefits Enrollment
If your agency adopts online benefits enrollment, you will be bringing greater value to your clients. With a benefits administration platform, you’re able to streamline enrollment, reduce errors, cut the paperwork, and give your clients an easy-to-use tool to manage their own changes throughout the year. We still don’t know what COVID-19 has in store for the rest of 2020, but a return to sheltering-in-place this fall is a distinct possibility. That means that right in the middle of open enrollment season, you may not be able to serve your clients in person. It’s time to adopt online benefits administration and protect yourself against whatever challenges tomorrow may bring.