The economy is once again gaining ground, and small businesses are thriving. For brokers, this growth represents a big opportunity to gain and build strong relationships with a variety of new clients.
But not all businesses are alike when it comes to recommending and selling the right benefit solutions. Employee demographics, salary rates, and competition each play an important role. Understanding the nuances and needs at the business and demographic level are key to building plans that meet individual clients’ needs.
For brokers, one of the best ways to appeal to small businesses is to study the specifics of their firms — not just the work they do, but the important characteristics of their employees. Small business decision-makers know their employees well, and brokers can appeal to them by showing that they do, too. How many people do the owners employ, and how can specific coverages help retain their current workforces and attract strong candidates? What do their employees want when it comes to life, disability, dental and vision insurance? How much coverage can those workers afford, and how much are they willing to spend? These are the questions brokers should consider as they sell to small businesses of varying sizes, demographics and industries.
Different generations, different goals
With seniors delaying retirement and Millennials building their careers, the multi-generational workplace has become common. Still, not every company is as diverse as the next, and generational demographics are important considerations in choosing the right benefits options. For instance, a small startup consisting of new college graduates may not have the same needs as a tight-knit group of experienced Baby Boomers. Brokers may be able to generate more business by tailoring their product offerings to the demographic needs of different companies.
According to MetLife’s 13th annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, each generation has different financial focuses based on their stages in life. Millennials want to achieve financial security, middle-aged Gen Xers are concerned about their families, younger Boomers need enough money to meet their financial obligations, and older Boomers are trying to spend less and save more as they approach retirement. At businesses with 2–99 employees, it’s a good bet the decision-makers are well aware of these varying needs, and brokers will need to adjust their offerings accordingly.
How should these differences affect the selection of specific benefits? Let’s look at dental insurance for a few examples. MetLife’s research has shown that the youngest employees see dental as the most valuable voluntary option, and they’re looking for fully covered preventive care and easy-to-use online claims tools. Among workers aged 35 to 49, over half are interested in purchasing dental insurance at work, and they want dependent coverage, orthodontics for their kids and the ability to use their current dentists. Finally, Boomers 50 to 68 have the most frequent dental problems, and they’re usually looking for coverage for periodontics, implants and frequent cleanings. With an awareness of a company’s employee demographics, brokers can recommend the right options and highlight the most appropriate plan features when presenting their benefits solutions.
Employee income also has a major impact on the best benefits packages for any industry. Average full-time hourly compensation ranges from $17.71 in the service industry to $67.34 among financial professionals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and workers in different fields will be able to afford different levels of coverage.