On Tuesday September 12th, Apple unveiled its latest line of products. One of their products, the Apple Watch, made waves across mainstream media due to newly added cellular capabilities. This means phone calls can be made and received through the watch. Can you say ‘Beam me up, Scotty”? At this point, you may be wondering what does this has to do with the health insurance industry?
Welcome to the Broker Tool Belt, a new health insurance broker blog.
Over the last decade and a half we’ve seen the rise in popularity of personal computers, the Internet, and mobile phones. With that rise has come a change in human interaction. We can instantly send a message to the other side of the world, share a video to 1,000 of our closest friends, and close business deals without ever meeting in-person. The constant in all this change, is people. The fundamentals of sales and client relationships haven’t change, but the mediums and mechanisms certainly have.
Cisco and Capita recently released a report in the UK titled, “Trends vs. Technologies 2016 report”. The study showed that while everyone agrees tech is important, there is a huge gap between having that knowledge and putting it into practice.
Improving the Enrollment Process for Brokers and Employees
As a small business owner, scaling your company and hiring new employees is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of Bluemercury said recently in a Business Insider interview that the best part of being a CEO is, “watching her company evolve — while staying true to its mission and vision.” Even more so, is the moment when you realize that you can now afford to offer hardworking employees benefits and health insurance options.
May 1 – May 7 marks the 2nd annual National Small Business Week.
Small business owners kicked off 2016 by reporting an overall higher level of optimism than they did in 2015, according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index. The quarterly report, which surveys small business owners, found 60 percent of small business owners considered their past year’s cash flow to be “very or somewhat good” – a result that hadn’t been recorded since 2007.
Leading insurance broker and consultant NFP adds Ease as a preferred technology solutions partner.
San Francisco – February 29 2016: NFP, the world’s fifth largest global benefits broker* has expanded their offering to include Ease’s online benefits administration and HR platform.
Maintaining ACA Compliance has become significantly more costly and challenging for employers.
The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 more than doubles the original penalties assessed when an employer fails to file ACA’s new forms 1094 and 1095. And if that’s not enough to throw employee benefits specialists and HR departments into a tizzy, now employers must also work through the ramifications of the PACE Act, which amends the definition of a “small employer” To further the level of confusion, the PACE Act also allows states to refine the amended definition.
The world of employee benefits is increasingly becoming more and more complex for brokers.
The new costs and challenges associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is causing employers to reconsider how to gain the greatest ROI provided by a Broker of Record (BOR). Technology solutions exist today that assist with the transactional requirements of ACA. Software is available to easily set up and manage benefit administration on behalf of clients. This is cutting edge technology that automates compliance testing and reporting. It can also provide a single point of entry for health data, if required, that populates multiple carrier quoting requirements. Some have developed this technology for the purpose of selling benefits even though it isn’t part of their core competency. With the cost of such software being less than 1% of the average commission earned per employee, this is no surprise.
New technology brokers are rapidly entering the market through a practice known as “broker of record change.” Employers sign existing insurance over because they believe the technology will take care of all of the intricacies around enrollment, HR and ACA compliance.Taken by surprise, many existing brokers lost business last year to the new technology broker. However, this model isn’t working for all employers.
The temporary advantage of the new technology broker is quickly disappearing.
New technology brokers are now under criticism because of a lack of quality service. Some of the largest technology brokers offer no onsite, personalized service. The ROI is compromised once employers realize that a BOR without personalized high touch support does little to improve actual benefits or fine-tune the cost of a company’s benefits program.Rather than taking a back seat to new technology brokers using novice agents with little or no industry experience, existing brokers need to incorporate technology that complements sound advice and guidance built on experience. This is the model that provides the greatest value to employers.
When it comes to small and mid-sized employers, efficiency is important but expertise is more important.
Business owners want to buy from a broker they trust, provides service and will be there when needed. It is far easier for an experienced broker to adopt technology than it is for a novice with software to start advising business owners about complex insurance needs.
The benefits industry may have been disrupted but for those that have chosen to adapt, the tables have turned quickly.With the incorporation of a centralized platform, it is possible to manage an entire book of business without increasing staff. It provides accurate insights into complicated ACA rate tables. As well, it maintains carrier enrollment, automatically maps employee data, presents correct documents for e-signature, and keeps a detailed and accurate audit trail every time an employee views or acknowledges distributed forms.
Our industry is changing. Brokers with the right technology solution can change with it. We just need to combine the advantages of technology with awareness and expertise. This provides the environment for brokers to thrive and grow.
Ease is a technology company built with insurance DNA dedicated to making easy to use software so agents can focus on what they do best, provide expertise.
We’re excited to announce Ease’s online benefits administration platform for insurance benefits brokers, modernizing the administration of benefits for brokers and their customers.
During the past three years, the Ease technical team, led by co-founder and CTO Courtney Guertin, has created a cloud-based software platform with rich features, an easy-to-use interface that offers one simple solution for a broker’s HR and benefits needs, is priced fairly, and provides great customer support.