Finding the right employee insurance plans for your business requires a good benefits broker. This article aims to help you find the best insurance broker for your business, whether you’re looking for some new quotes during a renewal period or you need to set up employee benefits for the first time.
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What Is an Employee Benefits Broker?
A benefits broker is not an insurance provider. Instead, brokers help employers find employee benefit plans and compare quotes from their partner insurance companies. The role of a benefits broker often involves:
- Supplying quotes for employee health insurance and supporting coverage plans
- Analyzing current plans to determine whether or not they meet employee needs
- Builds a holistic and customized plan specifically tailored to meet the needs of your staff
- Analyzing company finances and objectives to provide the ideal benefits plan
- Solving conflicts between the employer and the insurance provider
To find an effective broker, you must consider how each potential service handles these responsibilities. You need a broker that provides affordable plans and comprehensive support.
Choosing the Right Benefits Broker
When you trust an external company with your employee health insurance, choosing the right broker for your business is essential. Keep the following nine tips in mind to find the ideal broker for you:
1. Consider Your Company
Some brokers specialize in small business benefits plans, while others take on substantial corporate clients. Conduct some research on your potential brokers to determine what kinds of businesses they work with. Brokers that specialize in helping small businesses, for example, understand the needs of a smaller staff and may struggle to match a large corporation with appropriate plans.
You’ll also want to choose a broker within your geographic area to simplify communication. A benefits broker based across Canada from your location works in a different time zone than you do and may not understand the unique requirements of your area.
2. Check Broker Certifications
Unfortunately, insurance fraud is something you must consider as an employer seeking a benefits broker. Be sure to look into each potential broker you find to discover if they are licensed. Several resources exist to check a company’s certifications, depending on your location.
For example, you can look into insurance brokers in Ontario online via the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. Note that online resources often do not include all brokers, so not finding a firm does not necessarily mean they are unlicensed. These resources do, however, offer a great place to start.
3. Consider Employee Needs
The needs of your employees represent the most crucial consideration in choosing the right benefits broker. The right company will demonstrate dedication to helping employees rather than making the most money. When you select an employee-focused broker, you ensure that your employees will be well taken care of.
Find out if each potential broker supports employees during the enrollment process. Many employees handle enrolling in insurance plans on their own via user-friendly online portals, but others may need help. A good broker will be available to answer employee questions and address any concerns during enrollment.
Your employees will appreciate your consideration of their best interests. Hiring a good broker can help you attract and retain employees because you’ll earn a positive reputation for taking care of your staff members.
4. Consider Other Company Needs
If your company has other needs besides employee health insurance, you may be able to find a broker who also offers those services. For example, many insurance brokers offer human resources software or staff to help employers implement and maintain HR practices.
Research possible brokers to find out what kinds of services they offer. They may have the capabilities to help you cover gaps in other employee services.
5. Compare Brokers
Some brokers offer a wide variety of employee benefit plans, while others only provide one or two. To find the best benefits broker for your business, research the number of plan options each potential service has, how much the plans cost, and who their insurance providers are.
Consider also the size of each firm in deciding who you would rather work with. Some benefits brokers are small local companies, and others support employers across the country. Local firms sometimes provide more personalized service, while national brokers may have more insurance partners from which to choose.
6. Prioritize Comprehensive Coverage
Your employees will benefit most from a broker that offers comprehensive coverage rather than just one or two types of insurance. For example, your employee benefit packages may include:
- Extended health care to cover the cost of prescription drugs, paramedical services, and more
- Group life insurance, including dependent life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, and more
- Group dental insurance to cover standard dental work, orthodontics, and restorative dentistry
- Group disability insurance to cover short-term and long-term disabilities
- Group retirement savings plans to help employees prepare for retirement
- Health care spending accounts for extended health and dental coverage
- Employee assistance programs
- Health and wellness incentive programs
When possible, opt for a group benefit plan that includes a broad range of coverage to keep your employees covered in any circumstance.
7. Analyze Communication
Consider how responsive potential brokers are to your communications. How a company keeps in touch with possible clients can highlight many positive and negative aspects of a benefits broker.
Many employers make excuses for poor communication on the part of insurance brokers, but consider how you would choose any other type of service. You probably wouldn’t go with a roofing company if they took three weeks to return your call or never responded to an email. Hold your potential brokers to the same standard.
Poor communication could be a time or staff-related issue but more likely indicates a lack of client support. Go with a communicative benefits broker to ensure you and your employees get the support needed to get and utilize insurance coverage.
8. Ask the Right Questions
Ask all potential benefits brokers the following questions before deciding on who to work with:
- Do you work on a fee or commission basis? What is the payment schedule?
- What services do you offer to me? To my employees?
- Who are your partners and affiliate companies?
- How do you remain compliant with shifting health care laws?
- How am I notified of cost changes?
Ask potential firms the following questions before making a final decision:
- What experience and qualifications does your team have?
- Will I have a designated point of contact in your company?
- What happens if that person is sick or on vacation?
Ask individual brokers these questions before deciding:
- What experience and qualifications do you have?
- What happens if you are out of the office when I need you?
Benefits brokers of all types should be accustomed to these kinds of questions. If they don’t seem interested in answering, you might consider moving on to your next potential broker.
9. Ask Other Employers
Do you have family members, friends, or acquaintances who are also employers? Take advantage of their wisdom and experiences by asking them for recommendations. The people around you can be an excellent resource for finding out if a broker is worthy of your business.
Pay attention to any negative comments they make regarding certain benefits brokers. These could signal a lack of reliability or transparency or another issue you shouldn’t have to deal with firsthand.
Group Enroll: A Trusted Benefits Broker
We hope you’ll consider Group Enroll for your small business health and employee insurance needs. We are an experienced benefits broker who can match you with the perfect group plan to fit your needs and goals. We partner with major insurance companies in Canada like Sun Life Financial, Manulife Financial, and Green Shield Canada to provide plenty of plan options.
Request quotes from our insurance partners today by filling out this convenient online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll help you compare providers to find the best customized plan for your group employee benefits. Group Enroll is based out of 10 Great Gulf Drive, Unit 5 in Vaughan, ON L4K 5W1.