Target the Large Market in Small Business with Voluntary Benefits
Too many brokers spend years trying to sell to large accounts, overlooking an even bigger and more receptive market: small businesses.
There are more than 5.6 million businesses in the United States with fewer than 100 employees, representing approximately 98 percent of all employers and 35 percent of the labor market.1 These small businesses are struggling to cope with double-digit health care cost increases. Voluntary benefits products can help enhance employers’ benefits package at no direct cost to them, and many small businesses may not be called on by insurance professionals.
More choice, less cost, higher satisfaction
Show them how your voluntary benefits strategy can help them better manage benefits program costs and increase their employees’ satisfaction. You may want to recommend that the employer lower costs by changing to a high-deductible group plan. Then, you could demonstrate how a menu of voluntary supplemental health products can help fill coverage gaps. The employer can pay the premiums on these voluntary products or let employees pay through payroll deduction.
For example, you could add a supplemental health insurance product, such as those providing hospital confinement, accident, cancer and critical illness coverage. Many coverage gaps resulting from the higher deductible could be covered through products like these. Other voluntary benefits, such as life and short-term disability insurance, can also help round out your client’s benefits program. Your client could save money, and their employees could choose the coverage that’s right for their family and situation.
Better benefits communication drives enrollment success
How well you communicate the value and advantages of your client’s enhanced benefits package can help determine an enrollment’s success. It’s also an opportunity to make yourself indispensable to your client.
Your communications plan needs to inform employees about the overall value of their benefits package, including the advantages of their core benefits. You become an unofficial — and very welcome — addition to your client’s HR functions.
Small businesses typically have little to no human resources staff, which means the business owner often handles HR duties in addition to everything else. Your role is to make your client’s life easier by incorporating many HR tasks into the enrollment process, including benefits communications, and using the enrollment process to keep employee information up to date.
The effort pays off: A Colonial Life poll conducted by Harris Interactive showed 82 percent of workers who rated their employee benefits education highly also rated their employer an excellent or very good place to work. Conversely, only 27 percent of workers who rated their employee benefits education as fair or poor said their employer was an excellent or very good place to work.2
Your enrollment team should use group meetings and one-to-one discussions to reach out to your client’s employees and get them excited about their new benefits choices. If your agency isn’t set up for these labor-intensive tasks, you need to find an experienced voluntary benefits partner to do the work for you at no direct cost to you or your client.
The majority of small businesses have never been approached by a benefits expert about voluntary benefits. That means there’s a vast, largely untapped market of small businesses that are looking for remedies for their health care woes. When you partner with a quality voluntary benefits provider, you’ll not only be able to offer solutions that make a big difference for your prospects, but you’ll also be one of the few tapping on their doors. Those are great odds — and it’s great business.
1 LIMRA, No Small Matter, 2013
2 Harris Interactive, “Employee Education and Enrollment survey,” January 2012