We discussed in our last blog how plan design has changed considerably over the past few decades - yet most group health brokers are still conducting renewal meetings the same old way, using overwhelming spreadsheets that frustrate employers.
So how can brokers set themselves apart? Today’s employers want a different experience - and it’s no wonder. There are countless plan options and funding mechanisms, not to mention the complexity health care reform brings to the table. Employers are trying to take all this information and make an educated decision on the best plan for their company and employees. Here are five strategies to give employers what they’re looking for (and ultimately help brokers win and retain more business).
1. Simplify the complex
With so many plan options, regulations to follow and other important considerations, the spreadsheet approach just isn’t a fit anymore. Employers want a simple way to analyze all their options and focus on what’s important, and the best way to do that is visually. A graphical approach - ideally one that can be manipulated on the spot - helps employers easily see their options and fosters a smoother conversation.
2. Close the deal in fewer meetings
In today’s fast-paced world, employers want to have input, but they also want immediate results. They don’t want to have to spread the process over several meetings so the broker can draw up and present additional scenarios.
Today’s top broker needs to be able to flex during the meeting, responding to employer inquiries and modeling scenarios in real time. Do this and you’ll make your client (or prospect) happy - plus you’ll have more time to spend prospecting for new business and servicing clients.
3. Be the expert advisor
Despite all the changes in the health insurance market, a group health broker’s primary duty has not changed. Employers need help choosing the right health plan for them, and brokers are uniquely positioned to help them make an educated decision. And the brokers out there winning business understand this. The best way for a broker to impress a client is to streamline the complex process and help the employer focus on what’s important. Which brings me to…
4. Look out for the bottom line
HR managers and executives are busy. They don’t have time to sort through lots of data to figure out which plan best fits their budget. That’s what the broker is for. They want you to offer one or more recommendations based on their goals, but they also want to see some evidence to back up your proposal. A visual chart or graph that highlights the bottom line is far preferable in their eyes to a binder full of columns, rows and numbers to sift through.
5. Focus on the employees
Finally, this is one that many employers feel their broker is neglecting. Though their company bottom line is extremely important, employers also care about the burden on employees. The trend of employers simply transferring costs to employees to save money seems to be shifting, as employers realize the importance of offering a competitive health plan to employees.
And here’s where brokers are falling short. Many of them take into account employee premium cost when presenting plan options - but then fail to account for employee out-of-pocket spending, which makes up a large portion of employees health care costs. Today, employees are paying 41% of the total cost of employer-sponsored health coverage, when accounting for both premium and out-of-pocket costs, and employers don’t want this upward trend to continue. Brokers who can account for both of these numbers when presenting plan scenarios will earn more client trust - and business.
What are your thoughts on the broker-client relationship today? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
Are you ready to win and retain more business? To learn about brokers who are presenting plans in a modern way, download the e-book, What Employers Want: The Case for Dynamic Plan Design.