Engaged employee benefits brokers tell OneAmerica® in a new snapshot survey about the state of business during COVID-19 that “administrative and operational” assistance provided to policyholders is the key way for insurance carriers to be most supportive during the global pandemic.
Almost half (46 percent) of brokers who responded to the poll1 say this support—provided through answering policyholder questions and addressing billing inquiries and other concerns, such as evidence of insurability for formerly furloughed workers —is of most use to them. General check-ins by a sales representative to a broker—to talk about their health and well-being—finished in second with 30 percent.
“At OneAmerica, being broker-centric means we are always looking for ways to positively enhance the experiences brokers and their clients have with us,” said Jim McGovern, senior vice president for Employee Benefits, OneAmerica. “Broker-centric also means doing all the things that bring the highest value and, in this period of uncertainty, simply asking them what’s on their minds and what’s happening to their book of business is our way of upholding our commitment to them.”
The poll of 50 brokers nationally who do business with OneAmerica was conducted in early May and addressed an array of COVID-19 topics to examine the changing environment. Our surveyed brokers identified several ways to help accelerate business, including employee assistance programs.
The poll is particularly useful to brokers when coupled with other recent broker outlooks conducted by Eastbridge and LIMRA.
In general, brokers are concerned in this COVID-19 environment about reduced enrollment volume (71 percent), reduced employer interest in voluntary products (51 percent), reduced employee interest in voluntary (45 percent) and time constraints, according to an Eastbridge report.2
LIMRA3 worked with the Society of Actuaries and Oliver Wyman to conduct a series of short surveys on the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on the insurance industry as the pandemic has resulted in social-distancing practices and volatile market conditions that have caused disruptions in many life insurance companies’ processes. In LIMRA’s survey, 91 percent of the companies rated distribution/social distancing as concerns, followed by pricing/new business profitability (89 percent), and in-force profitability (77 percent).
Other revealing data from the OneAmerica survey:
- Increased Demand. More than 70 percent of brokers perceive employee assistance programs (EAP) as having the most demand, three times more than the next highest choice: short-term disability insurance.
- Timing. Seventy percent of surveyed brokers cited expecting their clients to wait to purchase new products or renew, while close to 30 percent expect employers to either provide more employee-paid options or look for plan design changes to minimize costs.
- Enrollment Solutions. The best enrollment solution chosen by surveyed brokers is having a benefits administration system at 60 percent and virtual enrollment meetings follow with 24 percent. Brokers indicated the most preferred way to position auto-enrollment is through success stories and testimonials, followed by economic data and statistics.
In response to broker’s wishes, OneAmerica continues to offer education opportunities live and on-demand through oneamerica.com/brokertraining to access training sessions. Outreach also includes work with sales representatives, who can provide personalized learning on topics like Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), trends in short- and long-term disability, ethics and more.
“We’re stepping up, stepping in and going the extra mile, because brokers can’t afford to take their eye off the ball in regard to the very short sales cycle leading up to 1/1 enrollment,” McGovern said.
Life insurance is one of the most important types of insurance coverage available to support long-term financial security. Companies who offer voluntary group life insurance keep their own benefits costs low and give their employees a valuable, lower-cost life insurance option than the employees would find in the individual insurance marketplace.
Unlike medical or dental, voluntary benefits may be perceived in the marketplace as “nice to have” but not “must have” for those employees who feel they have a limited budget to spend on insurance.
“We see it differently—we see it as paycheck protection that supports the hopes and dreams of individuals and families,” said McGovern. “So do our brokers. And brokers want to always know who to call when they or their clients need help navigating any challenges or answering any questions. Fortunately, at OneAmerica, our one-on-one model with local field liaisons enables better communication, promotes quicker problem resolution and builds confidence with our clients.”
OneAmerica offers employer-paid and voluntary term life insurance (where the employee pays for the life insurance benefit but receives a group rate).
OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica. Insurance products issued and underwritten through American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL), a OneAmerica company.
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A national provider of insurance and financial services for more than 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica help customers build and protect their financial futures. OneAmerica offers a variety of products and services to serve the financial needs of its policyholders and customers. These products include retirement plan products and recordkeeping services, individual life insurance, annuities, asset-based long term care solutions and employee benefit plan products. Products are issued and underwritten by the companies of OneAmerica and distributed through a nationwide network of employees, agents, brokers and other sources who are committed to providing value to our customers. To learn more about our products, services and the companies of OneAmerica, visit oneamerica.com/about-us/companies-of-oneamerica.
OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica. Products issued and underwritten by American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL), Indianapolis, IN, a OneAmerica company.
- The nine-question poll of 50 brokers, all regions of the U.S., who do business with OneAmerica was conducted in early May 2020.
- Eastbridge Frontline Report as featured in BenefitsPRO article, “COVID-19 expected to impact voluntary.” Accessed here: https://bit.ly/Eastbridge_COVID19poll.
- “Survey: Insurance Companies Making Changes to New Business in Light of COVID-19,” May 2020. Accessed here: https://bit.ly/LIMRA_COVID19poll.