By Josh Davis
In following the market for the last few years, and identifying how brokers function, what their pain points are, and why they’re in the brokerage business, we found that most payroll and workforce management providers aren’t covering the whole story in terms of why a referral partnership makes sense. The true value that a provider like you can really bring to these brokers is not being communicated. Many of you out there are only covering part of the value proposition, which we discussed in the first article of this series.
So, why would health insurance or benefit brokers want to be part of your payroll or workforce management company’s referral program?
Here’s what brokers view as the most important aspects of your workforce management platform, but they may not realize it. By covering these types of features you will really open brokers’ eyes to the opportunities that can be realized by working with you.
However, let me preface the list with this – there are two types of brokers:
- The old-fashioned broker – the old-fashioned broker is the type of broker you know well. They handle insurance brokerage in its most basic form. They simply sell insurance plans for commission. These brokers are the ones that were negatively impacted by commission caps and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and are struggling today. They’ve largely taken a reactive approach to these changes and simply diversified with other types of benefits outside of group health.
- The new age broker – the new age broker took commission caps and the ACA as sign that they needed to reinvent themselves. These are the brokers that go beyond just selling the plan. Not only did they diversify, they also started providing value-add services, and began taking a much more hands-on, consultative approach. Many have also transitioned to a fee-based model. These will be the best types of brokers to target in your referral program.
Now for what you’ve all been waiting for…
Benefit Reports – First and foremost, regardless of the type of broker mentioned above, they will want to be able to get all the critical benefit reports they need without having to bother their clients for it. From a configurable employee census report to a benefit coverage report, you want to provide them with access to it all, so they can continue to be the masters of their original domain. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and they need their client’s permission to gain access to the company’s data.
Benefit Plan Configuration – For those more hands-on, forward thinking brokers, you’ll want to share that you can enable them to configure the benefit plans employees see during enrollment. Not only can they directly communicate the advantages of each plan to the employee, allowing them to compare the plans and upload documentation, but they can also add any voluntary plans they’re looking to promote to employees. By giving them the control to add voluntary plans, they can be sure every employee either enrolls in or waives these plans they offer like life, vision, dental, disability, etc.
Benefit Enrollment and Administration Modules – If you’re providing the technology for employees to enroll in benefits and administrate benefits after life change events, that’s one less thing the brokers need to worry about. This makes working with them perceived as that much better by their client as well because you’re presumably offering this through self-service not only for the people enrolling, but the administrator as well allowing the full spectrum of enrollment to be complete through the proper approval chain via configurable workflow.
Carrier Connections – Then you want to do something no other platform does – you want to be able to provide them with the ability to take the deductions out of payroll, and create a carrier connection for the insurance carriers to be paid. Furthermore, if someone is terminated, you want that alert to go to the carrier so that billing ceases for that employee.
Automated Broker Email Alerts – The brokers also want to be kept abreast of benefit information at specified frequencies or benefits changes as they happen. You should be able to provide them with notifications for when a new employee is hired, an employee becomes eligible for benefits, an employee enrolls in benefits, and employee is terminated, etc. All with the goal of helping them identify new opportunities within their clients’ organizations to capitalize on.
Employee Communication – Not only do the brokers want notifications, but they may also want to control the communication and alerts that employees receive when it comes to benefit plans. They want to be able to have a direct line to the employee, and there are companies out there that provide solutions to brokers just for doing this. However, you should be able to provide them with the ability to customize the automated emails for benefit eligibility, pre-open enrollment, post-open enrollment alerts, etc.
ACA Compliance – And for the icing on the cake, you want to ease brokers’ frustrations around helping their clients with compliance regarding the ACA. Any ACA solution you provide should be designed to help with proactive management of ACA compliance across a company’s entire workforce. If your workforce management platform is complete with Time and Labor Management, HR, and Payroll, you should be able to manage the look-back periods, upon eligibility being determined, provide the solution for enrollment confirm affordability of the plan chosen, keep track of the stability periods, and really bring ACA compliance full circle.
What your technology will really help them with is to streamline their ability to efficiently manage their clients’ benefit programs and proactively capitalize on new benefit opportunities. You should be communicating the tools you can provide them with to help them service, support, and manage their clients more efficiently while capitalizing on more revenue opportunities without any need for manual intervention because you’re providing on-demand, secure access to their clients’ benefit-related data. All this, in turn, will make them more likely to refer a larger percentage of their client base to you.
How else do you differentiate yourself from other companies in your space when it comes to broker referral programs?
About Josh Davis:
Josh is the Marketing Manager at SaaShr responsible for increasing the growth of existing channel partners and the recruitment of new channel partners while positioning the SaaShr brand in the market through the development of both traditional and digital marketing endeavors.