7 Questions to Ask Your Potential Employee Benefits Broker

 

One of the largest expenses for any business are benefits offerings, and it is also the benefit that can be the most challenging to administer for Human Resources staff members. The trust that you must have with your employee benefits broker is exceptional, as this is the individual or group with whom you are trusting with the heart of your organization. Poor administration of these programs can affect employee turnover and satisfaction as well as cost the organization a great deal of their hard-earned profits. Here are 7 questions you can ask a potential employee benefits broker to find the best fit for your needs.

Knowledge of Your Employee Benefits Broker

Program administration is crucial to ongoing operations, and these questions will help you distill which organization will support the needs of your employees.

1. What services, knowledge, and experience do you provide?

Understanding how your employee benefits broker will supplement your knowledge of best practices is an important first question. Look for a broker whose associates are required to undertake ongoing education so you know that they are staying relevant in their field of knowledge and expertise. Several years of experience in the field means that they have heard questions multiple times and should have a good idea how to find the answers that you need quickly and efficiently.

2. Do you have solid references and industry experience?

While many people can talk a good game, you need to know that your employee benefits broker has the work experience and customer service ethics to back up their knowledge. Speaking with previous customers to get a reference of how the partnership has worked out provides an added level of peace of mind that can be valuable when you are working with a new organization.

 

 

Operational Excellence

There is an unbelievable number of moving parts in an employee benefits program, and you need to know that your broker can fluently handle the details. However, the individual or group that you are working with is only part of the package. The other part is the day-to-day operations that make your program a success, including the online and communications toolsets that are a part of their offering.

3. How will you help me streamline and automate my open enrollment process?

Working with an enrollment team who can provide a recommended communications schedule and messaging can help you get more people on board early, to save that dreaded last-minute rush to enroll. A well-practiced benefits team should be able to give you a jump-start on your new enrollment year.

4. What kind of online enrollment and other tools do you offer?

Online enrollment tools can make your process move much more swiftly. Having an automated online process can truly streamline your enrollment operations. Even smaller organizations can have a big tangle of information by attempting to enroll individuals by paper methods. HIPAA data security standards also come into play, as personally identifiable information (PII) must be kept incredibly confidential and tightly protected at all times.

Ongoing Support

All of the upfront promises and online tools are not helpful if you can’t get quick assistance when you need it! Make sure any employee benefits broker that you interview places a high value on their level of customer service and response times. Ask questions to determine the degree of support you will receive from the candidate.

5. Will we have a dedicated account manager?

Having a dedicated account manager saves you time and energy. Instead of constantly having to explain your background and business situation to someone in a random call center, an account manager understands your needs and can grasp them quickly — solving your problem faster.

6. Will you assist with claim resolution and problems?

When your employees come to you with a challenging question, will your account manager know how to help you solve it? Knowledge, experience, and timeliness — as well as a true willingness to dig in and do some research — can help tip the scales in favor of one broker over another.

7. What is your preferred communication method and response time?

Does your employee benefits manager prefer to communicate via phone or email, or is there an online portal where you ask your questions and wait for a response from a ticketing system? Neither answer is right or wrong — but it is likely that one is preferable for your team and the way they like to work. Look for a good cultural fit as well as someone who will quickly respond to your queries.

 

Another key topic is how your employee benefits broker stays up-to-date on compliance and regulation issues. Together, these questions will provide you with well-rounded responses to your benefits questions! Feel free to modify this list as needed and use it as a template for interviewing your next broker.