As we discussed in our previous article, Find Time to Lead: Partner with a Benefits Broker, benefits are one of your largest business expenses, second only to salary. So it makes sense to choose a broker who is as invested in your company as you are. Rather than just pulling a name out of a hat, it’s as important to vet and interview potential brokers as it is the employees you hire. We’ve gathered a list of questions to ask to help you ensure you get the best broker for your business. Here are the key questions to ask:
What certifications and licenses do you have?
You want to ensure that your broker is currently licensed to do business in the states where you have offices. A valid license indicates that your broker was trained, educated, and certified to conduct business. Also, check for any disciplinary actions that might have been filed with the state insurance commissioner.
What services do you provide?
Many benefits brokers manage much more than just basic health care coverage. Choosing a broker who is familiar with all types of coverage, including life, dental, vision, disability, and long-term care, is beneficial in that you’ll have a one-stop shop for all of your benefits programs.
Can you provide compliance advice about relevant federal and state laws?
Make sure your broker is very familiar with ACA requirements, and has his finger on the pulse of other important government and human capital management regulations. If he’s not, or seems uncomfortable answering the question, you should move on to another firm. You don’t want to be left holding the bag in the event of an audit.
Are you independent or do you have a team?
Your broker should have the resources of a full team at her disposal. By having underwriters and analysts on staff, the firm can truly be an advocate to your company when it comes to communicating and negotiating with insurance agencies. Having a medical director on staff to help review pre-authorizations and claim information is also a bonus.
Will you help us with open enrollment communications?
This is a biggie. Your workforce wants to better understand available benefit plans, but open enrollment marketing programs are an enormous undertaking. Having a broker who will do the heavy lifting in this area will free you up to focus more on strategy and educating employees on the right benefits packages based on their needs.
What are your fees?
Brokers can be either paid commissions by insurance companies, or they can charge a flat fee. More brokers are moving to a flat fee structure, where you’ll pay based on the number of employees covered per month.
All in all, you want a broker that is not only helpful, but someone who also cares about the success of your business and your employees. The right broker will keep you informed and up to date on your benefits programs, legislation, and business trends so your business can continue to run efficiently.
Looking for more inspiration on enhancing your benefits program? Visit the HR Center of Excellence Benefits Hub for the action plans and resources you need.