By

What can you do for employers who want to grow, provide a complete benefits package and stay profitable?

Customize their ancillary benefit plans.

Historically, brokers did not offer flexible benefit solutions to small or midsize employers because the programs weren’t available.

Today, smaller employers understand that, to compete for and retain qualified employees, they need a benefits package that includes not only medical but also dental, life and disability.

Brokers can help by offering popular voluntary benefits alongside “true group” benefits. One strategy is to work with carriers that offer a range of voluntary and true-group ancillary benefits.

Ultimately, the carrier and broker must be able to work together to create whatever combination of benefits and funding options the employer wants.

Quality is another important key to successful customization. If the benefit is not a high-quality benefit, the value the employer seeks to provide does not exist. Examples of quality features include coverage for white fillings on back teeth in dental plans and strong return-to-work programs in disability plans. For voluntary products, simple, efficient enrollment processes are important.

Finally, the employer should be able to offer different types of plans to different types of employees. An employer might offer entry-level employees a menu of voluntary products along with richer, noncontributory benefits for employees at the executive level.

Jim Gimarelli is vice president, dental marketing, and Melonie Jones is second vice president, life and disability marketing, at Assurant Employee Benefits, Kansas City, Mo., a unit of Assurant Inc., New York, that sells group employee benefits and services. Gimarelli can be reached at jim.gimarelli@assurant.com, and Jones can be reached at melonie.jones@assurant.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, October 14, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.