Now a part of mainstream comprehensive benefits packages, voluntary benefits are increasingly important. After all, they deliver direct savings to your people, lessen financial risk, and give employees choice and flexibility.
If you’re thinking of taking advantage of these features, you need a voluntary benefits broker. However, not all brokers are the same. With that in mind, here’s what to look for in a voluntary benefits broker – and more.
What are Voluntary Benefits?
Also called voluntary group insurance, voluntary benefits are plans offered to employees at little to no cost to the organization.
What are Some Advantages of Voluntary Benefits?
We’ve alluded to some, but here is an itemization of some of the plusses of a voluntary benefits plan:
- People like options and personalization. Some 60 percent of employees said they wish they had a broader selection of non-medical benefits available to buy. Among the current most popular voluntary benefits are term life, accident, critical illness, and short-term disability insurance.
- Helps with recruitment and retention. The ability to attract and keep key talent is more important than ever. In fact, some 73 percent of employees say benefits that are tailored to their needs heighten loyalty.
- Mitigates employee financial risk. Some 60 percent of employees live from paycheck to paycheck, and 48 percent can’t handle an out-of-pocket bill exceeding $1,000.
- Streamlines administration. Employers that bundle voluntary benefits with existing Disability, life, and medical carriers get direct cost savings, rate guarantees, and easier-to-handle administration.
- Most voluntary benefits can be added to an organization’s benefits plan for little to zero cost to you. By contrast, employers usually cover about 70 percent of group health insurance costs.
- Increases in workforce productivity.
What’s a Voluntary Benefits Broker?
Such a broker will handle the marketing, enrollment, enrollment, and ongoing administration of your voluntary benefits plan.
Finding the Right Voluntary Benefits Broker
When seeking to implement a voluntary benefits plan, many employers take the easy route and enlist the help of the same broker than handles their retirement or medical plans. That’s not always the best way to go.
What many employers don’t understand is that most of those brokers don’t have the know-how or objectivity to deliver maximum service in the voluntary benefits realm. For instance, brokers that offer an expansive selection across several types of benefits may not have a working knowledge of each option.
Here are some suggestions to help you choose a superior broker:
- Get third-party help. Small and mid-size employers should engage an objective third party that doesn’t sell insurance or gets commission from clients to look for the right broker for you.
- Create a list of potential brokers. Employers and the search provider should put their heads together on this. The search provider can provide you with info about new benefits trends, emerging vendors, and market developments, and perhaps help with broker evaluation and selection.
- Get guidance on negotiating terms. After you’ve found your broker, your search provider can help you with contract terms and service-level agreements.
It’s important to know what to look for in a voluntary benefits broker. After all, 90 percent of organizations already have such offerings in place as part of their overall benefits strategy, and it’s likely that you, too, will ultimately join the fray.
We suggest you choose Mercer for your voluntary benefits. Mercer’s offers a team that’s nearly 500 strong, and $1 billion in premiums managed by more than 70 carrier partners. In all, the respected and experienced firm has more than 1,500 employers of all sizes as clients.
Mercer knows what it’s doing.