California Broker: Please list the voluntary/employee-paid benefits that you offer along with the minimum group size for each offering. Please let us know if you specialize in voluntary benefits.

Bob , senior vice president of Growth Solutions at Aflac:

Aflac is the No. 1 provider of voluntary/worksite insurance products in the U.S., according to Eastbridge Consulting Group. With our broad portfolio of offerings, Aflac’s solutions suit virtually every business size and type. From three employees to more than 300,000, Aflac can fit easily within almost any benefits package.

Aflac offers individual and group plans as well as a portfolio of value-added services. Aflac is a leader in providing policies that pay cash benefits directly to insureds, unless otherwise assigned, to help close the gap for expenses health insurance doesn’t cover. Benefits are paid quickly so insureds can focus on recovery instead of their bills.

Aflac offers the following individual coverage:

• Accident.
• Cancer/Specified Disease.
• Specified Health Event.
• Aflac Dental Insurance —Supplemental Plan.
• Hospital Confinement Indemnity.
• Life — Whole, Term and Juvenile.
• Lump Sum Critical Illness.
• Short-Term Disability.
• Aflac Vision Insurance —Supplemental Plan.

Aflac Group offers the following group coverage:

• Accident.
• Short and Long-Term Disability.
• Critical Illness, including cancer.
• Hospital Indemnity.
• Whole and Term Life.
• BenExtend® and BenExtend for Diseases.
• Aflac Dental.
• Aflac Vision.

In order for clients to establish an account, Aflac requests they complete and sign a Payroll Account Acknowledgement form and allow three separate W-2 employees to apply for at least one Aflac policy. To establish group billing, Aflac Group requires a minimum of 25 payers.

Many times in the supplemental insurance business, companies tend to use the same approach to market similar benefits. Aflac is different. We back our plans up with the following:

• Innovative marketing campaigns.
• Design products with consumer and expert input.
• Strong financial stability.
• Brand recognition.
• A solid company reputation and corporate responsibility program.
• Responsive claims and customer service.

Michael Payton, Senior Vice President, Sales and Account Management, CHOICE Administrators:

ChoiceBuilder is a California different approach to ancillary benefits. We offer both employer-sponsored and voluntary benefit options for Dental, Vision, Chiropractic/Acupuncture, and Life. Coverage is available to groups with two to 500 employees. A large percentage of our groups offer coverage on a voluntary basis.

ChoiceBuilder also offers voluntary benefits for groups:
2-9 employees: Vision, Chiropractic, Chiropractic & Acupuncture

10-500 employees: Dental (5 must enroll), Vision, Chiropractic, Chiropractic & Acupuncture


Joe Stefano, Divisional Vice President for Western US, Guardian Life

Guardian offers voluntary Accident, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Cancer, Critical Illness, Dental, Hospital Indemnity, Term Life, Long Term Disability, Short Term Disability and Vision.

  • Voluntary Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability require a minimum of four enrolled employees.
  • All our other voluntary group coverages can be offered to groups with as few as two employees.

CB: Do you have any benefit offerings for employees that work fewer than 40 hours a week?

Bob Ruff, Aflac:
Yes, we do. Aflac individual and group plans are available for full-time employees, as defined by the client, who work fewer than 40 hours a week. Consumers in the U.S. without access to Aflac insurance at the worksite can apply for its supplemental accident, cancer and critical illness insurance through Aflac.com. This enhances the ability of freelancers, gig workers, and contract or part-time employees not offered a traditional benefits package, as well as full-time workers who want Aflac but do not have access to it at their workplace, to enjoy the benefits of Aflac’s valuable products.

Please note the following:

  • Group plans: Employees must work a minimum of 16 hours
    a week, with the exception of group disability. In order to be eligible for worksite disability, employees must work a minimum of 19 hours a week, and for group disability, employees must work at least 20 hours a week.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators.

Yes, all of our coverage options are available to employees who work 20 or more hours per week. The employer may define eligibility as 30 or more hours per week or 20 or more hours per week.
Joe Stefano, Guardian Life:
Yes. Guardian offers benefits to employees that work less than 40 hours a week. Our product offerings vary according to whether the employee works 30 hours or 20 hours a week.

CB: Can you explain the tech your company uses especially as it relates to enrollment, billing and claims? We’d like to know about convenience and ease-of-use features.

Bob Ruff, Aflac:
Aflac has the tools and flexibility to meet the unique needs of businesses of all sizes — from benefits marketing and education, to enrollment solutions and multiple billing options.
When it comes to enrollment, we work with employers to design a seamless experience tailored to
their business. This means that Aflac products are supported on over 100 different benefit administration/enrollment platforms. Additionally, we work with all major benefit administration and human capital management platforms in the market and treat them as system of record, which gives the employer a consistent experience across all their benefits, including their voluntary benefits.

Regarding billing, Aflac has found that the key to a great billing experience is understanding the client’s technical/platform and payroll capabilities. We then assist them with selecting the billing option that best fits their wants and needs. Aflac has the ability to work with employers’ systems as well as work with a wide range of third-party billing companies should the need arise. Aflac’s goal is to make billing and payment of premiums simple and hassle-free for your client. Aflac’s systems are flexible to accommodate a variety of billing methods and can handle almost any type of billing layout.

Aflac is committed to making the claims process easy and paying out benefits quickly. Aflac offers online services for policyholders who have an individual insurance policy. Policyholders can log on to myaflac.com 24/7 to view and manage coverage benefits, set up direct deposit to get paid fast, submit claims quickly and check their claim status. Aflac is also in the process of updating its digital claims experience for group plans in 2021 as part of our digital-first program designed to provide ease of service for our customers.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators.

Brokers working with ChoiceBuilder have a variety of tools available to them to run quotes, review their quote history, view all in-force groups, and more at choicebuilder.com. Fillable forms with flexible underwriting and tools to support employers, members, and brokers are also available.
Consolidated billing is offered for all products in the ChoiceBuilder portfolio.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life:
We understand through our research that to engage and enroll in voluntary benefits, we have to make it a seamless, digital experience. We have a number of benefits administration partners that allow us to offer API-enabled platforms that not only make it easy to administer the benefits but to enroll. Our APIs with these platforms enable plan setup, member level updates, and real-time evidence of insurability submission for employees.

For employers who don’t have their own benefits administration system, we can provide an online enrollment experience. Guardian Enrollment powered by Flock is a benefits enrollment solution for employers who want to provide their employees with a digital experience. It is optimized for both desktop and mobile, and available in Spanish. This offering also enables employees to take advantage of digital decision support tools like Nayya Choose or 1×1 employee education meetings through our VoluntaryWorks team.

CB: Do you honor broker-of-record letters?

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Yes.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators. Yes, we honor broker-of-record letters.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: Yes, Guardian honors broker-of-record letters.

CB: Do you require carrier reps to have a comprehensive knowledge of all of the products they deal with? How do you ensure this?

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Yes. Aflac has rigorous training and certification in place for our entire sales team. Our W-2 group reps and independent agents are trained to learn about products and processes particular to the company. Aflac’s brokers also work closely with our W-2 group reps to share knowledge and support their clients.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators.

We pride ourselves on our ability to meet the needs of the marketplace. We have dedicated inside and outside sales representatives throughout
the state who have a comprehensive understanding of our products. They are also able to provide strategic input for our broker partners. In addition, our Customer Service team is available through our toll-free number to answer questions.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: Yes. Our Guardian sales representatives achieve a high level
of comprehensive knowledge of the Guardian products they present through intensive and ongoing training. Guardian has a dedicated sales training team that helps to on-board new sales reps and provides ongoing regular training via virtual and classroom settings. Additionally, the sales teams have access to Practice Leaders for Absence Management, Life, Disability and Supplemental Health products that they can leverage to gain additional product knowledge.

CB: Do you offer marketing materials that are easy to present and simple for clients to understand?

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Absolutely. With 65 years of experience in supplemental coverage and a brand name that nearly 9 out of 10 people recognize today, Aflac’s worksite marketing materials are designed to create awareness, improve understanding, and increase participation in benefit programs. Whether supporting a small business or large corporation with complex logistics, Aflac can help your clients reach employees through various channels, such as:

• Microsites, web banners and emails.
• Sponsored ads on social media.
• Augmented reality.
• Beacon technology.
• Geotargeting.
• Product videos.
• Brochures and flyers.
• Posters and tent cards.
• Payroll stuffers and direct mail.

Note: All items may not equally apply to both individual and group products.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators: Yes, we offer a variety of marketing materials designed to help present the value of an ancillary exchange with employers, including our award winning ChoiceBuilder “Fast Facts” brochure.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: In line with our brand, we offer marketing materials that are easy and simple for clients to understand. One notable campaign that exemplifies approachable and simple is our “Simply Put” educational video series we launched last year to help employers and employees understand the value of voluntary benefits. The videos are designed to inform the workforce what products, like hospital indemnity insurance are, so they can make informed benefit decisions (click here to see our videos). The videos are captioned in English and Spanish.
We also understand that timely, effective communication is key in helping create awareness and understanding of our insurance products. As a result, we offer a variety of digital and paper materials that help employees understand their benefit options, then enroll in the coverage that fits their needs. Additionally, our enrollment strategy team works to ensure there is a well-planned employee level communications strategy in place.

CB: How do you track the quality of the customer service you provide to employers? For example, do you set annual service goals and measure and report results?

Bob Ruff, Aflac:

Aflac constantly measures our customer satisfaction level with policyholders and business accounts in a variety of ways, such as surveys and audits, to ensure we are meeting our established customer service goals and standards. We continuously monitor satisfaction with the total Aflac experience as well as satisfaction with enrollment, claims and billing. Aflac’s customer service quality program is administered by our Quality Assurance department. Each major business function is sampled monthly. Additionally, for quality scoring, a minimum of five audits per month
for each customer service center representative are guaranteed. All scoring and error trending are reported weekly, monthly and quarterly to management. Aflac’s Internal Audit department also conducts audits by line of business in addition to their annual assessment of internal claims controls.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators.

Yes, we measure and track both production and call center metrics on a daily, monthly, and quarterly basis. Our goal is to ensure we are delivering quality, timely service to all of our customers.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life:

We make it a priority to ensure our customers are getting the best service and that we are meeting their needs. We set goals, track and report the results each year. We also do regular Voice of the Customer surveys and monitor our Net Promoter Score and Customer Effort Score to make sure we are hearing what is important to our customers. For our customers with over 100 employees, we have a dedicated Account Services manager who handles all service-related items related to the group.

CB: Do you offer materials in any languages other than English?

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Yes. Aflac offers access to Spanish-language materials as well as those in English.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators: Yes, we offer select materials in Spanish and Chinese. Some carrier-supplied materials are available in additional languages.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: We understand how important it is to reach Spanish-dominant employees during open enrollment season and ensure they make informed decisions. Employees who prefer Spanish have access to our voluntary benefit product videos in Spanish, and our “Simply Put” video series offers Spanish captions.

Our Guardian Enrollment Solution powered by Flock is available in Spanish, and our VoluntaryWorks program offers Spanish speaking benefit counselors.

All of our product flyers are available in Spanish, and we offer a bi-lingual employee communications campaign.

CB: Do you have an established local sales and service team that can provide critical service in
the same cities that the broker’s clients are in?

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Yes. We have a local account management structure to provide localized support for brokers and their clients. The company also offers a team of dedicated, W-2 group reps in every major metropolitan area to support and service Aflac’s brokers and their clients. In addition, Aflac has a team of independent sales agents licensed to sell Aflac products throughout the United States. Aflac’s certified enrollers are available to service multi-location accounts, and we have a national sales coordinator team to manage these relationships. Aflac’s agent distribution model and broker sales team can help you manage your clients’ open enrollment needs no matter the size or location.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators: Yes. We have Regional Sales Managers throughout the state ready to assist – in-person or virtually – on a client presentation, training, or simply to drop off materials. We also offer inside sales representatives who work in tandem with Regional Sales Managers and specialize in select markets.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: Guardian has more than 40 local sales offices nationwide to support the needs of brokers and their clients. Our team in California is led by Joe Stefano, Divisional Vice President for Western US, with offices in both Northern and Southern California. We have Regional Sales Directors, Regional Service Managers, Sales Reps, Account Managers and Key Account Managers that support the sales and service function at the regional level.

CB: Do you have a sales rep and a service rep? (The sales rep helps the broker market and position products, manage blocks of business, and develop target markets. The service rep helps  implement and fulfill account enrollments.)

Bob Ruff, Aflac: Yes. We have local service teams that provide localized support for brokers and their clients. The service teams lead the broker and client throughout the implementation and ongoing administrative process. In addition, Aflac has W-2 group reps and account executives that focus on new sales, growing the in-force block of business, and assisting the broker in product and market positioning.

Michael Payton, CHOICE Administrators: In addition to our Regional Sales Managers and inside sales representatives mentioned previously, we also offer our Enrollment Squad. The Enrollment Squad ensures a seamless onboarding experience and offers in-person and virtual meetings. For questions that pop up during the year, our excellent Customer Service team is available to support both the employer and the employee.

Joe Stefano, Guardian Life: Yes. Guardian has local sales representatives to help brokers market our products. We also have Account Managers and Key Account Managers dedicated to growing the business as well as renewal placement and persistency. Finally, we work with operational staff to ensure cases are implemented smoothly, and we have met the needs of the client.