Nearly half of all employees spend a mere 30 minutes choosing their benefits plan, according to this report from Namely, an all-in-one HR platform. What’s even more startling is that most employees (73 percent) simply roll over the same benefits from year to year.
Why is that?
Is it because employees don’t care about the benefits they’re receiving? Are they too overworked to spend any time researching their options? Perhaps they just believe all benefits plans are the same, and they’re not going to do any better than what they’ve had all along.
We suspect it’s a combination of these factors. Ninety percent of employees admit they don’t understand the changes to their policies each year. Choosing employee benefits is confusing and overwhelming and, oftentimes, employers and HR departments don’t have any advice to offer, either.
Employers Look Toward Insurance Brokers for Guidance
As a smart insurance broker, this ubiquitous lack of knowledge is your opportunity to guide your clients toward the best benefits packages, whether that involves enhanced disability coverage, ancillary benefits, a 401K plan —or even a combination of all of these.
What Employees Want Out of Benefits Packages
In order to better serve our clients and their employees, let’s look at what the Namely survey tells us about employees and benefits.
– Most employees (80 percent) place a premium on benefits, saying a good package keeps them more engaged in the workplace.
– More than half (57 percent) say they’d trade greater compensation for a better benefits package.
– Employees want the basics: Health, Dental, and Vision coverage rank top on the list of benefits employees want
– Seventy-two percent of employees also want a matching 401K
Clearly, employees want—and expect—a lot from benefits packages. With this in mind, why do they spend so little time choosing the package that can meet their needs? It’s easy to see that the insurance broker who steps in, able to meet their client’s needs and, subsequently, make an organization’s employees happy, more engaged, and likely to stick around, has gained a customer for life.
More than Just Benefits
Understanding your customers, though, is more than just knowing the kind of benefits they want. Let’s explore the intangibles of what employers look for in an insurance provider.
Personalized Service and Consultative Selling
We’ve established that choosing a benefits package —and managing insurance, in general—is complicated. An insurance broker who provides top-notch customer service and consultative selling to ensure the client is selecting the best benefits for their employees will win out.
Today’s employees, HR directors, and business owners are accustomed to doing nearly everything online. We can host video conferences with clients and partners across the world with one click, buy car insurance online, and order lunch through our smartphone.
Today’s top insurance brokers should offer online rate quotes, along with the ability to pay bills, track claims, and have questions answered all from a computer with Internet access— or even a mobile device. A good insurance wholesaler makes these tools available to its brokers and select best-in-class carriers known for their technology and their overall service.
Of course, employers are also looking for the best employee benefits and the lowest premiums available. Brokers with The DBL Center, Ltd. have access to a wide range of top-rated carriers who can offer bundled policies to provide clients with the lowest rates possible.
We shop your policies around, saving you time, but you’ll be the one your clients thank when you write them a better policy at a lower rate than they had before.
Don’t Let Your Clients Settle
Even though most employees are willing to settle for the same benefits package year after year, smart business owners and HR directors will look for ways to increase benefits without increasing costs, as a way to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.
As an insurance broker, you’re in the position to help by showing them what’s available. It’s time to let your clients know they don’t have to settle for less. They can enjoy the best service, lower premiums and more robust benefits when they let you show them their options.
Let The DBL Center help provide your customers with more in the way of employee benefits.
by Dawn Allcot
With the rising costs of employer-paid health insurance, not to mention the tangible costs of employee sick time, smart business owners focus on employee wellness as a way to increase productivity and reduce costs. From company gym memberships to serving healthy food in the employee cafeteria, there are a number of ways businesses can create a culture of health and fitness in the office.
But have you considered your employees’ dental coverage? Preventative dental care doesn’t just reduce sick days due to mouth pain or oral surgery. Studies show the advantages of good dental health extend to employees’ overall health. Poor dental health has been linked to a surprising number of other illnesses.
Periodontal disease and its predecessor, gingivitis, has been linked to heart disease. The bacteria that causes these diseases can enter the blood stream and travel to the heart, where it causes the arteries to harden. This condition has been linked to heart attacks and strokes, which are leading killers in the U.S. and also two of the most expensive health conditions in a workplace.
The bacteria present in the mouth of those with gum disease doesn’t just affect the heart. Breathing in these harmful bacteria can cause respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
Medical professionals aren’t sure why, but diabetics with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, which can increase many of the health risks associated with diabetes. Treating gum disease as soon as it’s detected can help those with diabetes live healthier lives.
New research shows that taking steps to prevent gum disease, such as brushing and flossing regularly and seeing a dentist twice a year, may also help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s possible that the higher levels of antibodies present to fight periodontal bacteria in those with gum disease leads to inflammation in other parts of the body, including the brain, which can speed cognitive decline. With the vast number of older Americans in the workforce today, slowing or preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s should be a consideration in any organization concerned about the overall health of their employees.
Just as poor dental health can cause a number of other illnesses gum disease may also be an indication of other diseases. Regular dentist visits may help detect underlying problems, including heart disease, that require a doctor’s care.
Offering employees good dental benefits as part of an ancillary group benefits package encourages regular dentist visits, cleanings, and other preventative maintenance, which can improve a person’s overall health. And healthier employees are more productive employees.
Consider these facts:
Productivity losses due to absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion
A good dental benefits package with low premiums and a focus on coverage for preventative care can save your company money in the long run.
The DBL Center can link you with a best-in-class insurance carrier to provide the dental benefits and other ancillary group benefits your employees need to stay healthy and productive.
If you or your spouse has read or seen the new novel “Meternity,” you might find the premise unrealistic – if not completely ridiculous. The book’s author, Meghann Foye believes women who choose not to have children should still receive paid time off during their child-bearing years. She wrote a novel exploring what might happen if a 30-something worker faked a pregnancy to claim her “meternity” leave. “[A]s I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves,” Foye writes in the NY Post.
But rather than revealing how unfair maternity leave is to childless workers, the book, in fact, succeeds to showcase the shortcomings in minimum employee benefits across the board. And the insurance industry is in a good space to help HR directors and CEO solve these problems.
In New York, employees currently file for maternity leave under disability benefits law, which entitles new mothers to receive up to $170 per week for 26 weeks, maximum. Depending on their salary, this amount may be much lower, as DBL is calculated as 50 percent of the claimant’s average weekly pay. Many parents can’t afford this level of pay cut, so choose to stay home only 12 weeks; most day care facilities accept children as young as three months, but not younger than that.
With the introduction of federal mandatory Paid Family Leave benefits next year, maternity packages will be more enticing. But for now, creating fair maternity leave policies – as well as equitable benefits packages for the rest of their employees – is in the hands of business owners.
Employers have the choice to offer more than the minimum DBL coverage. An enriched DBL package in New York can bring the percentage of benefits closer to the employee’s salary. Enriched DBL could mean new parents — today, two years before PFL goes into effect — may not have to cut corners as much at a time when their living expenses increased because they had to add the cost of diapers, baby products, and additional medical coverage and care to the family budget.
Enriched DBL also makes it possible for new mothers to take their full 26 weeks, going back to work when the baby is six months old instead of just three. Of course, it’s not like babies are self-sufficient at this age, but they are more interactive and many are sleeping through the night – which makes getting up in the morning to go to work that much easier from a physical perspective.
But let’s get back to that book that casts a resentful eye on working mothers everywhere. Certainly, some employees do feel resentment toward working parents, but anyone who has friends who are working moms – or who has ever had a conversation with a mom about work/life balance – knows it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Parents don’t look forward to missing days of work due to children’s illnesses or leaving early for school meetings. In fact, they begin to fear their job security and it can make it harder for them to get ahead in a competitive workplace.
However, as we all know in the business world, appearance and perception matters. If your other employees harbor resentment toward members of your workforce, it’s time to make a change.
Short of providing a paid sabbatical to childless workers, ask them what kind of benefits they’d prefer. Maybe it’s a better retirement plan. Or group life insurance coverage for themselves and a spouse. Maybe your employees are unhappy with their health care coverage and would like ancillary benefits like dental and vision.
Bundled with enriched DBL coverage in New York, these benefits become very affordable. Talk to your insurance broker or contact The DBL Center, today, and we will connect you with a trusted partner who can help.
With the profound effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on the insurance industry, smart insurance agents are looking to ancillary benefit sales to make up for lost profits and earn more commission with less work. (Let’s be honest… isn’t that an ideal scenario for everyone?)
The fact is, few people – from insurance agents to HR directors and small business owners – are happy with the side effects of the ACA. Benefits have been reduced, deductibles raised, and out-of-pocket expenses for both businesses and their employees have gone up. Insurance agents, employees, and business owners are getting less for more.
Fortunately, long-term disability coverage (in the form of NYS DBL coverage, NJ TDB insurance, and Hawaii TDI) as well as ancillary benefits like Dental and Group Life/AD&D insurance are helping business owners and HR directors make up for the benefits loss in other ways, enabling them to continue to recruit and retain top talent, while allowing insurance agents to earn additional income.
Through our best-in-class carriers, The DBL Center offers a variety of ancillary products and enhanced disability benefits packages that make it easy for insurance agents to upsell to existing customers.
In a recent survey, 68 percent of employees polled about benefits wanted dental coverage.
Yet, fewer than half of small-to-midsize businesses offer this benefit, says DBL Center Partner Michael Cohen. Since a healthy smile can also lead to greater success, especially in organizations with a heavy emphasis on sales, dental coverage represents a win-win-win for employers, their employees, and the insurance agents who sell dental insurance as part of an ancillary benefits package.
Long-Term Disability Coverage
The coverage goes by different names in different states but, whatever the name, enhanced disability coverage provides more than the state mandated maximum for income replacement if an employee is injured, ill, or gives birth. (This is not to be confused with the new Paid Family Leave coverage New York is phasing in through 2021, which provides paid time off after the birth or adoption / fostering of a child, or to care for an aging loved one).
It’s easy to see why this is a “win” for insurance carriers, because the claims are less frequent than, for instance, medical or dental coverage, and end after a specified time period. From an insurance agent’s perspective, you can offer your customers a lot of additional coverage for a small amount of money so they can see that it’s a good investment. Tiered plans give executives – the decision-makers when it comes to purchasing benefits plans – the greatest amounts of coverage.
Group Life / AD&D Coverage
Another popular “upsell” for insurance agents who are already offering their customers health care and disability coverage, life insurance policies can offer substantial coverage with a low, pre-tax investment. Again, tiered plans give executives the best coverage available. Employers can choose to match employee contributions, or simply offer low out-of-pocket premiums to employees.
Consultative Selling: The Key to Higher Commission
Adding these ancillary benefits and enhanced disability coverage to your existing policies isn’t hard using a consultative selling approach. By offering top-level, white glove service to your customers through The DBL Center’s back office, you’ll solidify the trust they have in you. From there, you can review the best benefits packages and make recommendations that fit your client’s unique needs, based on the demographics of their employees and their individual needs.
Are you an insurance broker who has seen your commissions drop due to the Affordable Care Act and health insurance providers’ new policies? Struggling with falling commissions and uncertainty about the future of the industry, two years ago 49 percent of insurance brokers were thinking about leaving the industry, while 67 percent said they knew someone who had, according to the Aflac Workforces Report for Brokers.
Finding Profits in Ancillary Benefits
But for those who stayed the course,. Your customers will love ancillary benefits like vision, dental, life, and enhanced disability insurance because it gives them an “extra” to provide to their employees in the face of healthcare cuts. And you will like ancillary benefits for the added commissions and multi-line discounts that make it easier for you to purchase these products from one carrier, saving your customers money and streamlining paperwork and administrative costs for you.
Consultative Selling: The Key to Ancillary Benefits Sales
But it’s important to remember these benefits don’t sell themselves, and a consultative approach is a proven method to closing more deals. Rather than the traditional features-and-benefits approach, consultative selling is a more active sales technique. Initially, it may take some time to establish trust and get your customers onboard with your recommendations. But once you’ve established that relationship, it’s easy to sell them the ancillary benefits to meet their needs and budget and nurture the relationship through continued service.
How To Shift to Consultative Selling
Consultative selling focuses on identifying your client’s needs and choosing the solution that meets those needs best. “Consultative selling means brokers will need to show that they have a high level of knowledge about the product,” writes Jeff Kolesar in an article published at LifeHealthPro.com. “That knowledge will create a bond between the buyer and seller allowing brokers to recommend ancillary options once the big medical decision has been made.”
Although healthcare insurance has become difficult and complicated to sell, ancillary benefits haven’t changed in recent years. The options remain straightforward and profitable. It’s all a matter of learning about the different carrier choices and finding the bundled plan that appeals to each customer. With that difficult step done, the insurance sells itself because your client already trusts your recommendation. But how do you get to that point when you’re already strapped for time and trying to make bigger insurance sales, faster? That’s where your insurance wholesaler comes in.
It’s All About the Service
Consultative selling is all about the service you provide as a knowledgeable insurance consultant (hence the name…) for your customers. In his article on ancillary benefits, Kolesar writes, “I recommend leveraging your carrier expertise, where possible. If brokers are strapped for time, they should partner with a carrier that’s equipped to step in and answer questions.”
At DBL Center Ltd., we provide the knowledge of not just one, but multiple carriers, so you can give your customers more options and better prices. We serve as your back office, shopping the various carriers to find the best plans to offer your customers. We share our knowledge. You establish trust through that knowledge and then sell the products. We all win. Your customers get the ancillary benefits they want, we provide white-glove service, and you cash the big commission checks.
Start cashing larger commission checks right away with ancillary benefits:
Get the white glove service you deserve with DBL Center Ltd.