With 2019 coming to a close, brokers should take a step back and examine what industry trends have emerged and how they can use that data to better serve their clients in 2020. Recently, the 2019 BenefitsPRO Employer Survey was released, which helped shed light on what brokers need to know going into next year.
Here are the 2019 Benefits trends that brokers need to know.
Technology is a top priority. Almost all (95%) of employers reported that technology is a “must-have” or “very important” part of their day-to-day job functions. With the world being mostly digital, and younger generations taking over the workforce, it’s important that employers are offering benefits in a way that resonates with their workforce. Having online portals, mobile apps, and support chats available will go a long way in keeping employees engaged. On the management side, having technology can help streamline processes and free up valuable HR resources -- this is an important conversation to have with clients sooner rather than later.
Employers want better communication and products from their brokers. Most employers understand the value of having a broker to guide them. However, some are expecting more from their brokers, especially when it comes to cost, communication, and better product offerings.
Brokers have the opportunity here to provide better communication and solutions to clients in 2020. Periodically check in with your clients, not just around enrollment time, and revisit their offerings regularly. The fact that over half of employers would switch for cost reasons also presents the opportunity for brokers to come to clients in 2020 with cost-saving strategies and options.
Employers trust brokers to be a source of knowledge. Employers trust brokers to understand which benefits are popular and build a customized plan off that foundation using the best tools. Brokers have the opportunity to share best-in-breed technology with their clients as long as they can make the case for efficiency.
Employers are also looking for brokers to be a thought leader in cost-saving strategies. In 2019, employers reported these cost-saving conversations with their brokers:
There is a great opportunity here for brokers to expand their portfolios with consumer-driven plans. A reported 65% of employers were considering implementing CDHPs in 2019. Take this time to educate clients on the value of HSAs and give them strategies for increasing enrollment with them.
Traditional benefits are not dead. When asked what they consider their most important benefit to offer, 81% said health insurance. Additionally, 78% of employers are offering retirement benefits still. Although there are new benefits on the rise (such as remote work, flexible schedules, condensed work weeks, pet insurance, etc.), traditional benefits are not disappearing fast.
What is changing, however, is the cost of offering these benefits. Brokers can guide their clients towards making choices that still meet their need for traditional benefits, but in a cost-effective way. Understanding what’s important to clients will be the key to success this upcoming year.
Looking ahead to 2020.
So how can you take this information and use it to create a better client experience for 2020? Focus on increasing communication with your clients and making sure they are using the best technology to administer and manage benefits. Doing so can set you apart from the competition and ensure you are offering your best services to your clients.