Benefits packages have long been regarded as a tool for recruiting and retaining top talent, but in an age of the Great Resignation and with companies looking to secure coveted talent, a compelling package is a must-have. As brokers look to better serve employer clients and compile these packages, the right technology can create efficiencies, foster better relationships and facilitate business growth.
While digital tools have been around for some time, COVID-19 significantly sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years. The need for higher functioning technology accelerated unexpectedly and the right digital tools can give brokers a competitive edge.
BY SCOTT KIRKSEY
Legacy systems consisting of multiple computer packages hosted on local servers are no longer adequate in the modern marketplace and often result in fragmented experiences and unnecessary manual work.
SELECTING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Legacy systems consisting of multiple computer packages hosted on local servers are no longer adequate in the modern marketplace and often result in fragmented experiences and unnecessary manual work. Now, new systems hosted in the cloud offer brokers efficient enrollment, instant access to quotes and dedicated support teams. In fact, 54% of businesses think that benefits administration technology will play a bigger role for them when compared to years past.
Cloud-based technologies are driving most of the advancements in payroll and benefits administration and feature advanced applications to help streamline a broker’s day-to-day responsibilities. When asked about open enrollment, BenefitMall’s research suggests 33% of companies completed the 2020 entire enrollment digitally and 58% were completing enrollment with at least a portion of the process online.
While companies are continuing the transition to digital, brokers can be a bit hesitant due to dissatisfaction with previous digital experiences. While 75% of the brokers surveyed by BenefitMall desire and are trying various technology solutions, only a small percentage are happy with what they have found thus far. To help guide the selection process, brokers should consider five of the most notable priorities when choosing a cloud solution to optimize their business.
A technology-based quote tool for medical, vision and dental insurance should be the top priority. Generating quotes is one of the most time-consuming tasks as it takes a significant amount of time to identify and compare products, and often requires immense amounts of paperwork.
An automated tool capable of generating comparable quotes with a minimal amount of input can do wonders for a broker. Beyond the time savings, it also reduces the actual labor involved in preparing quotes. What may have taken two or three staff members a day to do using a legacy system can be completed in a fraction of the time by a single staff member. By automating data-heavy tasks that normally require a tremendous amount of human input, cloud-based solutions offer significant operational efficiencies while simultaneously freeing up staff to concentrate on the business.
SMART FORMS AND APPLICATIONS
Too much time is spent on revising forms and applications whenever changes are made. For a broker, a significant amount of time is invested at the start of every year in making sure forms and applications are up-to-date. Smart forms and applications do not require as much work as each is automatically updated, eliminating the need for staff members to go through each and every form manually.
In addition, customer segmentation software can strategically target forms pertinent to each client. Brokers do not have to waste time making sure each client gets only the necessary forms and applications.
Benefits ultimately protect your employees’ health, wealth and overall happiness, which, in turn, protects the success of your business. However, as benefits administration and management align with advancements in technology, the concept of protection extends beyond the facets of health, wealth and happiness.
The sensitivity around how data is captured and transferred is a significant priority amongst employers and brokers. Unsecured data can cause tremendous damage to both an employer’s and a broker’s brands, reputations and teams. As a result, it is extremely important to identify a platform that offers complete 360 data encryption across multiple networks at rest and in transition.
In order for brokers to foster strong customer relationships that eventually lead to growth, they need the tools to give customers what they want. The goal of technology is to increase efficiency and productivity. Looking at that from the client’s perspective, understand that clients have no interest in spending endless hours looking over broker documents and trying to understand what they mean.
Clients want clear, concise, and accurate information that allows them to make quick decisions. The challenge of legacy software is giving clients the information they need in a format they can understand. Outdated reporting tools do not work well with modern constructs, and poorly presented data only hinders a client’s ability to see the value in your business. Consider platforms that improve this experience, such as quoting systems, proposal design tools and enrollment solutions.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Taking the customer experience one step further, it’s important to keep customers happy after they choose their benefits. A key component here is access to information. Ask yourself this question: how happy are you with your own insurance provider’s digital access? If you access your insurance products online, does a typical experience meet your expectations?
Clients today want and expect instant access to their benefits programs. They expect comprehensive solutions that provide the information they need with just a few clicks. They want databases that reflect accurate data in real time, whether they need the information on a weekday or weekend.
CHANGING TIDES OF TECHNOLOGY
Employers are changing the way that they view technology as a resource in the administration of benefits. Technology will continue to play a pivotal role in the growth of the broker business and as digital transition progresses, brokers who display inefficiencies in adoption may experience difficulties staying competitive. Now is the time to adopt new technology while the market continues to evolve. Successful brokers will recognize the opportunity to grow with the changing tide.
SCOTT KIRKSEY is the CEO of BenefitMall, which partners with a network of 20,000 brokers and more than 120 carriers to deliver employee benefits to more than 140,000 small and medium-sized businesses. For more information about BenefitMall, visit www.benefitmall.com