Commonly considered a nice “add-on” feature for a benefits program just a few years ago, voluntary products are now a necessity at the worksite.
The market is thriving and experts see the demand for products like accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity continuing to grow. With recent trends in health care causing more consumers to bear a heavier financial burden, more employers are offering voluntary products that work hand-in-hand with health plans to help their employees alleviate some of these costs.
But employers looking to add voluntary products often look past the products to the carriers. They want to know what they’ll get in terms of service and support before, during and after enrollment. In other words, how can a carrier make life easier for them and their employees?
Here are four ways carriers are answering that question and meeting the needs of today’s worksite clients. Putting this spin on your pitch and partnering with carriers focused on these strengths will help you stand out in a crowd with your worksite clients, new and old.
1. Making enrollment easy
Granted, the nuts and bolts of a worksite program aren’t always the most exciting topic, but the ease of doing business is often at the top of an employer’s list of considerations. That’s why a user-friendly digital experience is a must for worksite offerings in today’s market. A carrier’s smart use of technology can make enrollments almost effortless.
The right digital tools can take voluntary programs from introduction to enrollment in just a few weeks. Online enrollment needs to be simple–think one easy-to-navigate spot where employees can find product information, compare benefit features and quotes, instantly send quote data to an online application, and use electronic signatures to complete an application anytime, anywhere.
Streamlining the quoting and application process is about more than convenience; each tool also helps increase participation and speed up the sales process.
2. Better benefits communication
Here’s an eye-opening statistic: 90 percent of employers believe their benefit communication approach is successful, even though 62 percent of employers do not have a formal communication plan and most don’t measure their success.1
Carriers can help ease the time and financial burden that many employers face by helping to create a custom communication plan that educates and engages employees. Today’s workforce needs key messages and resources that can be:
A customized and strategic communication plan helps employees make informed decisions and ensure an employer gets the most out of their investment in their voluntary offerings. After all, employees are less likely to enroll in a plan when they don’t understand the value of what’s being offered.
3. Enhancing the customer experience
A strong digital platform can help with much more than enrollment. It can also add major value in the back-end operations and should extend to two key areas:
An employer’s relationship with a carrier shouldn’t end after enrollment. Whether it’s through an online portal, communicating via email, or something as simple as having someone available to answer questions, a carrier should remain accessible and responsive to the needs of an employer and its employees. An employer will appreciate knowing that administration and support can be just as easy as enrollment.
4. Carrier partner profiles
Most employers know that a strong benefits package can help them recruit and retain top talent, improve job satisfaction and boost productivity, but only if they’re offering the right solutions to their employees.
Today’s employees want to select from a menu of solutions and customize a benefit plan that meets their needs. From an employer’s perspective, it makes sense to choose a carrier partner with a variety of affordable, in-demand products that bridge gaps in health coverage. For example, short-term disability, accident and hospital indemnity were all top-five voluntary products last year, while critical illness sales grew by double digits.2 Employers also give strong consideration to a company’s overall reputation, including claims support and benefit payments.
Many carriers have been taking big leaps to improve the customer experience, while technology will only become a bigger part of the way we do business. Product features will always be a critical part of your pitch, but highlighting these value-added services can go a long way with both your current clients and new leads. Helping your clients choose a carrier with a strong foundation in these areas will make their jobs easier and keep you ahead of the curve.
is vice president of Sales and Marketing for LifeSecure Insurance Company, based in Brighton, MI. LifeSecure is dedicated to helping you see insurance differently and delivering an exceptional insurance experience. The company offers accident, hospital recovery, and long term care insurance products. LifeSecure is licensed in 46 states and the District of Columbia. Vestergaard can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.