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Small business benefits for every generation, income and company size

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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 incomes

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.

Disability plans with higher benefit amounts often make sense for middle-income, middle-aged employees working manufacturing jobs who may have greater financial responsibilities, for instance, while lower levels of coverage might make sense for Millennials working entry-level office jobs, who may have fewer financial responsibilities. Similarly, firms full of higher-earning Baby Boomers are often well-suited to higher-premium group term life insurance policies.

Overall, brokers can offer the most appropriate benefits options to small businesses by better understanding their employees. Small startups of young service workers may not have the same needs as companies filled with older, higher-earning professionals—but the right advice and flexible product offerings can help brokers appeal to both.

Considering company size

Finally, even within firms with fewer than 100 employees, brokers will want to consider their specific numbers of employees, and how this could affect the needs and goals of both employers and employees. Companies with 2 to 9 employees may have different needs from those with 10 to 49, which may, in turn, have different needs from firms with 50 to 99 employees.

For businesses with 2 to 9 employees, for instance, brokers may need to explain the value of offering non-medical benefits. Brokers can recommend solutions that fit the needs and sizes of these businesses. Ultimately, the benefits plans business owners choose should help satisfy current employees and attract high-quality workers.

Larger businesses of 50-99 employees tend to have benefits packages in place. Brokers can best serve their needs by suggesting updates to their existing offerings — particularly those chosen before the recent healthcare reform — as well as add-ons that can provide additional value to current and future employees. As these companies grow, brokers can become their trusted advisors, offering advice, guidance and additional coverage updates to meet their changing needs. 

A single-carrier solution for a variety of clients

No matter the size, average income, or demographics of a small business client, offering benefits solutions that take into account each business’s specific needs will be key to a broker’s success. With a single-carrier solution for life, disability, dental and vision, it becomes far simpler to cater to a wide variety of diverse customers. Business owners can enjoy the simplicity of a single, comprehensive package, and they can choose the exact policies that fit their employees’ needs and company goals.

Build your business and learn more about small business benefits solutions at www.metlife.com/smallbusiness.