Remember those old-style carnival barkers who’d lure townspeople into mysterious tent shows by promising the opportunity of a lifetime? Odds are most of those opportunities weren’t all they were cracked up to be.
Today’s insurance brokers and agents, however, really do have the chance to take advantage of the sales opportunity of a lifetime. Believe it or not, they have health care reform to thank for it.
It’s no secret that when it comes to health care coverage and costs, Americans’ heads are spinning. Employers, workers and even some benefits experts are dizzy from the merry-go-round of changes to the way benefits are purchased, delivered and paid for.
One thing that shows no sign of changing is the effort businesses are making to reduce employer-paid health care costs. For the past several years, budget-conscious companies have looked for ways to control their benefits-related spending, not only by eliminating some employer-paid coverage but also by shifting costs to workers in the form of increased co-payments and deductibles.
While businesses look for ways to trim costs, workers are searching for ways to guard against the fiscal implosion that often accompanies serious injury or illness. An increasing number of companies are soothing employees’ fears by adding voluntary insurance to their benefits options, opening the door for benefits experts to reach out and grab the brass ring.
Smart brokers and agents are using the calm before the reform-implementation storm to generate buzz — and business. They’re rightly telling companies that now’s the time to add voluntary policies to employees’ benefits options. By doing so, they’ll help ease the fears of workers unsettled by health care reform and, at the same time, position themselves to retain high performers and lure top-tier new ones.
Workforce attrition should be high on business leaders’ minds right now because human resources professionals predict significant upswings in turnover as the recession winds down and companies begin hiring again. What’s more, PwC Sarasota research and analysis shows it’s not just rank-and-file employees who are eyeing the exits. In 2010, 4.4 percent of high performers left their jobs, an increase of nearly 19 percent over 2009, and that trend is expected to continue.
According to the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report, strong benefits plans give companies the ammunition needed to keep workers from straying. When asked what their employers could do to convince them to remain in their jobs, 49 percent of workers who participated in the Aflac study said, “Improve my benefits package.”
Voluntary insurance appeals to workers because it allows them to select coverage that meets their families’ needs in amounts that fit most budgets. According to the Aflac study, some employers don’t make voluntary options available because they don’t think workers are interested, yet 60 percent of employees said they’d be interested in purchasing coverage if given the opportunity.
Introducing voluntary benefits
So, once a company has made the decision to add voluntary benefits to its roster of health insurance choices, where does it start?