The benefits renewal experience is fairly standard for an employer today. Their broker tells them how much their rates have increased, shops around for options to potentially offset that increase, and then helps the employer choose a plan. If the employer is in the market for a new broker, each broker likely touts all their “value-added services” along with their renewal expertise, but at the end of the day, the outcome is generally the same.
Brokers today are constantly looking for a way to set themselves apart in an industry that continues to become more commoditized. This blog will examine one way to do so, by introducing the concept of contingency planning.
Why contingency planning?
It’s no secret that the health insurance market has been volatile and unpredictable the past several years, and there’s no reason to expect any different in the near future. Employers will be best positioned for that market volatility if they plan for multiple contingencies, rather than putting all their eggs in one basket, so to speak.
Your new insurance sales strategy
If you’re like most brokers, you’re always on the lookout for insurance sales strategies to differentiate yourself from the competition. The topic of contingency planning is one way to set yourself apart during a prospecting call or meeting.
Why? While most brokers will come in and discuss the upcoming renewal and their various offerings, this approach takes a long-term view of the employer’s benefits needs. You’re opening up a more strategic conversation while opening the prospect’s eyes to potential market shifts they should be prepared for. This positions you as a true long-term partner that they will want to work with.
Put it to work during renewal
This strategy is certainly effective in winning more business, but should also be put into practice with your current clients during their next renewals. In addition to focusing on their benefits plan for the following year, open a discussion about planning for future possibilities. Being aware of those possibilities now, and making plans in advance, can help position your clients much better for those possible scenarios.
Think about the state of the market and industry, and consider bringing up contingencies such as:
- Specific ACA regulations being delayed—or implemented (such as the Cadillac tax)
- Specific ACA regulations already in effect being abolished
- Rates continuing to increase dramatically
- New healthcare laws or guidance being put into place
As you discuss these scenarios, explore options with your client for how to handle the issue. They may want to consider self-funding, for example. Or they may want to begin ramping down their high-cost plan gradually to avoid the Cadillac tax should it be implemented. These are all great discussion points, and turns your benefits renewal meeting into a more consultative discussion.