As employers continue to struggle with rising health costs, they’re looking for opportunities to enhance employee benefit plans to satisfy a restless work force and keep talent in-house.
Retaining and attracting employees is one of the most serious challenges facing employers today, second only to controlling medical costs, according to a recent survey of American business owners and benefits decision makers that was commissioned by Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.
Small businesses with 25 to 100 employees are particularly concerned about matters of succession planning and the staffing challenges that are expected to arise as the worker population ages, the survey found.
Advisors in today’s market have a chance to give employers solutions to these challenges and not just “products.” A broker’s recommendation carries a lot of clout. It is the top factor in an employer’s decision to select a benefit carrier, according to the Guardian survey. On the advice of producers who sell to the group market, many employers are enhancing their benefit plans with products related to dental care, vision care and wellness.
Multi-life disability income insurance is also good fit as a voluntary benefit. A portable complement to traditional long-term disability products, it offers a perfect example of how a producer can take a product in the group insurance marketplace and turn it into a solution that meets the needs of both employers and workers.
In selling multi-life disability income insurance-or any voluntary benefit product-as part of a broader solution, producers should offer to do as much as possible with regard to enrollment, education and administration. If you are in this market, the following tips may help.
1. Do your due diligence.
Employee benefits advisors should stay on top of what’s going on for their clients in the marketplace. What business challenges do they face? Is the culture of the company changing? Where do they expect to be in 10 years? Knowing the answers to these questions facilitates the sales process with existing clients and helps you win new ones too. Start a clip file on each of your clients and prospects.
2. Fill a niche in the benefit plan.
To make your case to an employer for adding a new product to the plan, you’ll have to explain what makes it unique and valuable. Multi-life disability insurance, for example, bridges the best of both individual and group insurance products.
It is guaranteed standard issue, so it comes at a group discount (on average about 25% lower than what employees could get on their own). The application process is streamlined and doesn’t require a medical exam or financial underwriting, as individual disability insurance does. And, unlike most group insurance products, the coverage is also portable.
3. Emphasize employee needs.
Show the advantages of the voluntary benefit from as many different employee perspectives as possible. In most cases, it’s not a one-size-fits-all opportunity. In discussing multi-life disability income insurance, you might explain how the product gives employees the flexibility to purchase a plan that is right for them.
An executive earning $300,000 a year may wish to choose different coverage options than someone earning $50,000 a year. But employees dependent on their paycheck, regardless of their level in a company, need income protection and would be well served by the plan.
4. Take the lead on education.
When benefits are offered on a voluntary basis, education is critical. Most workers assume their long-term disability plan would be sufficient to see them through financially, should they need it. The best worksite specialists deliver a message that, “Yes, your LTD plan is great. It’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.”