The time of year for benefits renewals is here which means, as a broker, you’re busy reviewing your clients’ current benefits packages and making improvements for 2019.
Although technology has made this task much easier, it’s still a lot for brokers to manage. Changing rates, plans, and regulations make each year a unique challenge. And with majority of clients renewing at the same time, the volume alone can be overwhelming.
But with a few key strategies, you can manage benefits renewals smoothly, bringing the highest level of satisfaction to all clients.
- Evaluate existing plans for each client. The best place to start for renewals is with existing plan designs. For the most part, things that worked well for clients in 2018 will continue to work well in 2019. But there are occasionally going to be circumstances that cause that to change for employees, like illness diagnosis or pregnancy. Take time to evaluate your clients’ current offerings to make sure they are still meeting needs. Even if they are covered sufficiently, this is also a good time to consider what ancillary or voluntary benefits could work within that plan. For example, an urban-based client could probably get a high enrollment rate in a , while a company with a majority millennial employee base might benefit from a student loan repayment program.
- Stick to your timeline. It’s important to make a timeline to stay on track of this process. This doesn’t necessarily mean tackling things in chronological order. Get started on the most impactful deliverables first, then follow through with the other items. The earlier you make and set your timeline, the more successful you will be. Taking time to have client conversations with plenty of time to spare will practically guarantee that all necessary benefits are in place by the start of the new year.
- Identify trending benefits. Staying on top of trending benefits will help you put together the best possible plan for your clients. Simply offering basic benefits is not going to cut it these days—the low unemployment rate means that benefits are now a competitive edge for companies in a tight labor market, so offering the latest and best is necessary to attract and retain top talent. Find programs that meet needs, but also provide unique value add-ons, like
- Student loan repayment programs
- Perk and discount programs
- Fitness incentive and wellness programs
- Paid family and parental leave
- Go paperless. Each year there are updates to materials, guidance, requirements, plans, and more. Keeping all necessary files in a paperless system makes it easy to update and disseminate the latest versions each year, eliminating repeat efforts and human error. Keeping all necessary documents in one place also keeps you more readily informed on items that your clients should know sooner rather than later. Having information, decision-support tools, resources, and more all on one automated platform saves time and hassle during this busy transitional period.
If you haven’t done so already, now’s the time to establish a process for renewals going forward. Your clients look to you as a source of information and guidance during this time, so there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Be sure to with any questions about streamlining the benefits renewal process.