Be Sure Of Suitability When Selling Workplace Benefits
Throughout my many years in the voluntary benefits industry, Ive seen one issue arise time and time again: Too many of us are still trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Why present a cancer product to an employee, for instance, when what he really needs is a disability product?
Selling the wrong product to an employee not only contributes to misunderstandings about how supplemental benefits work but could also damage your reputation as a producer and even that of the industry itself.
The overarching principle in assuring suitability in worksite benefits is always get to know your prospect. I typically employ a three-pronged approach. (See box.)
Before meeting with employees, consider using fact-finding and employee benefit surveys to learn about the company and what benefits already exist. This will help you uncover any voids in coverage, decide which carriers’ products can best supplement the existing plan and help you tailor your product offerings to the employers budget objectives.
Frequently, through the employer endorsement, you may also learn some important information about each employee, such as income, age, family size, occupation, length of time with the employer and perhaps even a probable retirement date.
All this information, plus facts you will learn from personal interviews, helps you select offerings from your portfolio that most closely satisfy each employee’s needs.
Its essential to show how the voluntary insurance product fits into the employees total financial picture. This not only helps the employee understand the suitability of his purchase but also shows him how to get access to the plans benefits if he needs to.
For example, when selling supplemental health insurance, point out that while the insurance generally pays benefits based on medical events, the employee does not have to use the benefit to pay for the medical event itself. This information is vital in helping your customer understand supplemental insurance as a valuable planning tool for families who use most of their paycheck, even during good times, for regular living expenses. Emphasize to the employee that supplemental insurance can help to pay added household expenses incurred during treatment of major illnesses, when income is often reduced because the employee or his spouse loses time at work.