The Value of Voluntary has never been so powerful
I am so blessed. For close to 30 years, I have been in an exclusive segment of employee benefits that truly embodies the phrase “win-win”: voluntary benefits.
- WIN for the employer: who doesn’t love no cost/impact to their organization’s bottom line while expanding the benefit program to include benefits their employees need, want, and will pay for 100%.
- WIN for the employee: Through the convenience of payroll-deduction, employees can obtain coverage that aids in financial protection and peace of mind with programs that are exclusive to the organization, and that they can’t obtain anywhere else and it’s just that simple.
With a looming recession, we need a sense of urgency. Ensuring employees have benefits with the best “price point” means they can secure the coverage they need to weather through the tough times as this when coverage is needed the most
The “once in a century” Pandemic changed everything
Job Seeker's Market
In two short years, employers lost the upper hand when it comes to recruiting and retention. Vying for talent has never been more challenging. I wrote an eBook that explains HOW the pandemic changed the workplace and how employers can leverage voluntary at no cost to compete. It’s valuable.
Remote Work / Life-Work Balance
A majority of workers who were able to work remotely are never going back. Productivity is up along with employee satisfaction. Believing that a pre-pandemic face-to-face enrollment process can adapt and deliver results is a “square peg” in our “round, post-pandemic” world.
Is at an all-time high with 60% of employees having less than $1000 in savings. Many employees are dipping into retirement savings to make ends meet. Most affected? “Gen X” workers who are asking for more financial education and access to products that are so affordable at their young age.
Benefit “wish list” has changed
The Pandemic begged carriers to adjust their benefit offering with new plans that include features that are relevant now: telemedicine, daycare, Covid diagnosis, mental health, substance abuse. Not only have they responded, the plans outshine pre-pandemic plans with lower premiums!
One of the reasons voluntary benefits are popular is because employees TRUST their employer to have vetted the benefit offering…ensuring their employer/broker annually explores relevant features + low price point. We take care of the comparison so why wait to find out how dramatic an improvement can be realized?
Guarantee Issue is "golden"
Many employers/advisors put upgrading their voluntary program on hold due to the Pandemic. The wait is over as we don’t have a crystal ball but life goes on: we get older each year and for some, their health has changed.
While many brokers/employers have taken advantage of “guarantee issue” (i.e., NO HEALTH QUESTIONS) over the years, I really don’t understand why individual products / no “GI” is still in place in 2022
- When new VB automatically covers ALL employees, HR has a new tool against to compete for talent; being able to cover those with a history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, while providing peace-of-mind.
- And brokers love it as enrollment results increase as no one is declined coverage.
How great is that? I know we will never go back to underwriting again!
100% Active Enrollments are imperative
With my style of virtual solutions, we can reach more employees than pre-pandemic. We create solutions that will work no matter what the future of Covid brings to the workplace. This means we can help more workers with benefits that are relevant now.
Because “GI” is offered during the initial Open Enrollment, it makes no sense to create materials that won’t be seen or read by the employee.
We create the shift from “selling” to “educating” and allowing employees to make a good benefit decision for themselves and their families, and this is why we work with “employee-centered” organizations.
Not only does working together to conduct an active enrollment makes sense (we shouldn’t make the decision for the employee…let them do that), it protects the EMPLOYER as they will know that ALL employees received the opportunity which is supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)!
2022 Opportunity: Leveraging Voluntary to aid in Recruiting & Retention
Written in May of 2022, agency owner Pamela Whitfield’s 33-page eBook highlights the dramatic changes that
have occurred in society, the workplace, benefits, technology, remote work, following two
years of the Pandemic in the US. It is basically a summary of the one-hour 98- slide CE Courses (Life & Health & SHRM)
Enrollment Date: Feb 2018
# of Employees: 300
CHALLENGE: This high profile Alaska company had recently bought a competitor (in 2017) which had a different benefit package then parent company. The CEO had the opinion that voluntary benefits would NOT be well received and annually declined offering for two years. A meeting with HR, VP of Operations, Payroll, broker our agency convinced them that their employees would participate with an effective enrollment strategy. The CEO made the decision to move forward due to no cost to their organization and preliminary expressed interest from staff. He also know that there was NO COST to his organization
We were excited to bring in FRESH voluntary benefits (not a replacement) with this "employee-centered", well-paid staff. We understood the high cost of healthcare in Alaska and focused on pre-enrollment communication on NEED while also thoroughly explaining how the benefits worked while connecting individually with those in remote areas.
The success of this enrollment was also due to the fact that it was conducted "off" Open Enrollment. We decided that because the voluntary was new, the best tine to introduce would be in February. The focus was 100% on the new benefits. I truly believe that this is GREAT example of how amazing "off-cycle" fresh (or replacement) voluntary can be. We rolled the next O-E to the 4th quarter
Voluntary Benefits Offered: Short-term Disability, Accident, Critical Illness and Hospital plan with ID Theft (value-add)
- Initial enrollment yielded over 50% participation (proving to the CEO that he made the right choice)
- Due to strong participation, we achieved “guaranteed issue” so all critical illness and disability plans were issued regardless of health questions
- Initial enrollment followed by monthly servicing of new hires through our “new hire service” tab on our website
- We serviced claims quickly when they arrived and had great case studies for the following open enrollment communication about benefits making a difference in policyholder's lives