By JOSEPH C. FILICE
Today most business owners and/or HR managers do not have the time to spend focusing on employee benefits. Most understand the value and importance of employee benefits and how they help attract and retain the best talent in the market while creating a competitive advantage for the company, but simply do not have the time to spend researching and marketing employee benefits packages. Employee benefits brokers are state licensed individuals who assist with this process. Employee benefit brokers design a customized benefit plan, educate employees, implement the plan, assist with the administration and servicing while ensuring compliance.
Employee benefit brokers are insurance brokers who specialize in employee benefits and are required to be licensed through their respective state of residency and in all states where they are conducting business. One of the main roles of an employee benefits broker is to design a customized benefit package for their client that meets the unique demographics and needs of their staff while ensuring compliance for the business. This plan is designed with the direction of the business owner and/or HR to meet the needs of their employee population while assuring affordability for both the company and the employees. This process is done through marketing the prospective benefit package through multiple major insurance carriers in the market to ensure the most competitive plans at the most competitive price.
Once the plans have been to market and the business owner has chosen the benefit package to offer to their employees, the implementation of these benefits occurs. The first step in implementation is education. The employees need to be properly educated on what benefits are being offered and have a comfortable understanding of the benefits and the relative pricing. Brokers assist the company in this education process through group meetings, one on one meetings, marketing material and online resources. After proper education, the employee can now confidently elect the benefits they feel meet their unique needs and those of their dependents. This process is done through both traditional paper elections and, more popular today, through electronic election.
A good employee benefits broker is like an extension of the company’s HR team whether the company has 2 employees or over 2,000 employees. Throughout the year an employee benefits broker should be hands on in the assistance of service and administration related to the employee benefits package being offered. This can range from adding and terminating employees on and off the plan and bill, reconciling invoices, assisting with claims, answering questions from employees, directing a wellness plan, introducing technology partners where applicable and continually educating employees.
Most benefit packages renew annually. This time period is referred to open enrollment. During open enrollment your broker is a pivotal part of the process. Employee benefit brokers need to market your plans to ensure you are receiving the most competitive benefits at the most competitive pricing. Once the broker has presented the options to the company and they have chosen their plans for the new policy year, the process of employee education and implementation occurs again. The broker’s responsibility of employee education is never complete. They are continually striving to educate the employees on their options presented so that these employees can fully understand the benefits being offered and determine what is a good fit for themselves and their dependents.
This was a very high overview of the role of an employee benefits broker and the services they provide to businesses. Whether your company has 2 employees or over 2,000 employees, an employee benefits broker should design a customized benefit plan for your staff. This plan should be designed to meet the unique needs of your employee population while being in line with the company goals and ensuring compliance. Employee benefit brokers should be conducting employee education year-round and should act and serve as an extension of the company’s HR team for all service and administration related to the employee benefits being offered. As with your plans being offered, you should also market your employee benefits broker to make sure you are confident with the partnership you have chosen and to ensure you have the best employee benefits broker for your unique company and employee population. Contact your local employee benefits broker today to learn more about the services offered and how they can help!
Joseph C. Filice MBA, is the owner of Avalon Insurance Services, LLC located in Avalon Park Florida. Joseph has been in the insurance industry for more than 13 years and is a proud member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU). Email him at email@example.com.