As open enrollment approaches, now is the ideal time to prepare employee benefits packages. Consequently, choosing a professional benefits broker who understands the ins and outs of benefits can save your organization time and headaches throughout the process.
Read on to learn more about how to find the right benefits broker for your organization and learn what questions you should ask to find out what you need to know:
What is a Benefits Broker?
To put it most simply, a benefits broker is a professional who specializes in employee benefits brokerage services. They are sometimes also referred to instead as a health benefits broker or an employee benefits broker. They are in essence the professional who knows the most about how to formulate the best employee benefits packages for your organization.
Factors to Consider
When searching for a benefits broker, you should consider several specific factors related to your business. After doing this, it will make the process of finding the right professional to meet your needs that much easier:
Identify Your Needs
What do you need a broker to do? Do you have an idea of the benefits you want to offer, or are you open to suggestions?
Consider All Options
Look at the types of broker relationships you could choose from and consider what options you want to offer.
Take a Look at the Clients of the Broker
There is no better way to quantify a broker and to their value than to consider the other clients of the said broker. Look at these clients and consider how you are the same and how your company differs.
Get to know your broker in terms of how they do business by following up on referrals. Ask honest, hard questions throughout the process to get the information you want to know.
If You're Not Satisfied, Make a Change
Take action. If you are not happy with what a broker is offering you, then find a new one. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your company’s interests.
Questions to Ask
When you narrow down your options to just a few brokers, you can then move to the question portion of the process. Asking the following questions and noting the broker’s answers should give you an idea if you want to move further in the process of working with them. The answers should also disclose any potential problems that might be present that you want to avoid.
1. What can you do to streamline my open enrollment process?
You want to know that a benefits broker can make your enrollment process easier and more user-friendly. You most certainly don’t want to over-complicate it or add steps to an already arduous process.
2. How will you help me keep up with HR regulations and compliance?
Any benefits broker worth their salt should be familiar with HR regulations and compliance. They should be experts in the field in fact. Therefore, you should get a good, straightforward answer on how their services would help oversee all HR regulations and ensure compliance.
3. Considering the current employment market, how would you recommend attracting and retaining employees?
The current job market is ultra-competitive. This has led to many issues with not only attracting good employees but then retaining employees for the long haul. A benefits broker should be able to tell you as a business owner how they can help you attract and then retain valuable team members.
4. What is the best way to determine the coverage my business needs?
Benefits brokers can also help you determine what type of benefits or coverage your company needs. Ask them to advise you on this to determine what type of benefits and/or coverages you should be offering for your employees. This will help you stay competitive in your field and ensure that you aren’t neglecting to give employees something they deserve or expect.
5. What commissions do you receive?
Obviously, a benefits broker has to make some income. They aren’t doing the work as a hobby after all. Therefore, it’s important to ask them how they make a commission. When do they take a fee, how much is it, and what is that based on? All these should be easy for them to tell you and above board.
6. Do you offer online health benefits administration?
While this is technically a personal or company preference, you will want to know if a benefits broker you are considering offers online health benefits administration. Most modern companies will want to have such services.
Bottom Line: Get to Know Your Broker
A benefits broker should be able to answer these questions based on your organization’s needs, so you can then make an informed choice on their service. If your broker cannot, or you do not like the answers that are given, it is likely time to consider switching brokers.