In our last article titled “To Shop or Not? When to Consider a Competitive Market Tender”, we discussed the various reasons why companies should and should not tender for a new insurance provider. If your company is at the stage of looking for a new provider, an industry-knowledgeable benefits consultant can help, and the shopping process can make all the difference. While some brokers or benefits consultants might be focused solely on price, our team at BenefitDeck takes a multilayered approach when tendering for a new insurance provider on behalf of our clients.
Step 1: Listening to and Knowing Our Clients
The first step for our team is meeting with our clients to fully understand their business, benefits plan objectives, future growth strategies and simple wants. All of these will factor into the criteria that we look at when sourcing the best possible provider.
For instance, if a client prefers the option to submit claims online, we will only consider those providers with an online claims submission portal. We often recommend for our clients to choose a provider with either web or mobile platform to ease the claims process and save employees time and potential hassles when submitting claims. This also sends the employees the message that the company is not just making a decision based on the lowest price, but choosing a solid provider that will offer employees quality service.
Another example is if our client is projected to grow their employee base significantly. Instead of seeking providers that only cater to smaller organizations, we might suggest providers that have the capacity to accommodate their demands as they continue to grow, so as to avoid an impending provider switch the following year.
Step 2: Sourcing and Screening the Right Providers
In any market, there will be numerous employee benefits providers and plans. We take the time to source a number of providers based on our clients’ needs and budgets. We look through the proposal, the resources and the support offered by each provider, and narrow the list down to the top two to three providers that meet our clients’ requirements.
In certain cases, we can spot providers who might be underpricing to win the contract, with possible intentions to increase rates the following year. We also examine the insurer’s break-even loss ratio to understand how much expenses are factored into their costs. We thoroughly review these expense ratios, as well as any associated trends and reserves to ensure that future renewals will be evaluated fairly by the insurer.
Essentially, we do all of the leg work, and submit a number of pre-selected quotes to our clients that we feel will: 1- Meet all of their needs, today and into the future, and 2- Offer fair and accurate pricing for the proposed services.
Step 3: Selecting the Best Provider
Even with three providers, it might be difficult for our clients to decide. As a hands-on employee benefits consultant, we are here to guide our clients through every step. While some proposals appear to be very similar, other factors that we encourage our clients to consider include local insurer support. Perhaps the insurance provider’s support office is located outside the designated time zone, and cannot offer customer service beyond a specific local time. Perhaps the local support office is not adequately staffed to handle many inquiries, which can hamper service. We also advise our clients if an insurer may not be as likely to provide concessions to smooth out any potential increases on renewals over a longer period, which can save headaches down the road.
Knowing the ins and outs of the industry allows us to offer these important pieces of information to our clients as they select their benefits plan provider. It is our job to look out for our client’s best interest, and be completely transparent about why we are proposing the pre-selected providers.
For our team at BenefitDeck, offering full disclosure and transparency is also a way that we establish trust with our clients. Ultimately, our client will select the plan that they feel is best for them. We are here as an extra source of support and guidance, with the honest intent of making the entire process easy, fair and efficient.
Whether you are with a business, association, or owner operator, we have the solution for your needs.