NU Online News Service, March. 20, 10:03 a.m. – VSimplify Inc., the developer of a Web-based human resources management system, is trying to sign up banks to help distribute its benefits-management platform to businesses.

Until recently, the Fairfield, Conn., company has been selling its services through about three dozen insurance brokers around the United States.

Now vSimplify has established a strategic partnership with Commerce National Insurance Services, which will distribute vSimplify to its business clients in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The agency is a subsidiary of Commerce Bancorp, Cherry Hill, N.J..

Rudy Nadilo, chief executive of vSimplify, says his company is also in talks to offer its HR services through two large regional banks, one in Connecticut and the other in the West, which he declined to identify.

“What intrigues banks is that, once you get into a client with a system like this, you have the ability to offer banking and insurance services beyond what the employer is currently offering and at an attractive rate to employees,” Nadilo says. “It’s all done on line, and you cut out a lot of broker costs.”

Tim Casey, chief information officer for Commerce Bancorp, says vSimplify gives banks a way to expand sales of employee benefits and other financial products to businesses and their employees.

VSimplify will allow Commerce National to market products and services directly to its business clients’ employees on their desktop computers, Casey says.

The vSimplify system automates HR and benefits administration, allowing employers to store employee data, carrier sales and enrollment materials, benefits plans and reports and other information in a collection of administrative tools that employees can access from their computers. The system also permits employees to enroll online for health care, 401k and other benefit programs, and to connect to personalized account statements and payroll information, Nadilo says.

Using the system, a bank can offer employers a home intranet page that employees can log onto. The page can carry not only benefits administration information but also link to other company functions. For example, some employers use the page to allow employees to sign up for training classes.

“Our product is an intermediary,” Nadilo observes. “You can use it any way you want.”

Commerce National Insurance sells a range of personal coverages, including employee benefits, says Edward Kiessling, the agency’s president. Using vSimplify would allow the parent company to identify opportunities to cross-sell bank products based on certain life events, such as the birth of a child or the purchase of a home, he says.

Kiessling adds that, by providing vSimplify through its servers, Commerce National can allow businesses to offer a wider range of voluntary employee benefits than they could on their own, at little or no cost to them. That saves time for internal HR staff, enabling them to focus more attention on other duties, such as hiring and training, he says.

Kiessling says his agency has not yet signed up any customers but it expects to close several sales by the end of this month.

“Our target market is employers with at least 100 employees,” he says. “We have a sales force of seven or eight backed up by a service unit.”

Pricing for the service will be flexible. Kiessling explains that some employers would be charged from $3 to $5 per employee per month for using the service, which is slightly above what vSimplify itself charges. In other cases, where cross-selling opportunities are high, Commerce may subsidize the cost, Casey says.

Commerce Bancorp built its insurance division over the past five-and-a-half years, buying about 10 agencies in that time. The division claims an annual premium volume over more than $500 million, with 125,000 clients in 25 states.