Voluntary Benefits Offer Solution to Broker Business Woes

May 2, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C., May 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Cutbacks on employer-provided major medical insurance, reduced commissions and the impact of health care reform are causing many insurance benefits brokers to question their longevity in the marketplace. But implementing a voluntary benefits practice can solve many of these problems for brokers, without investment or training.

That’s the finding of a new white paper released today by Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. “Filling the Revenue Gap: How Brokers Can Use Voluntary Benefits to Build Business” uses industry research, case studies and opinions from industry experts to show how voluntary benefits are a powerful solution for brokers concerned about their revenue steam.

The white paper explains how brokers can:

  • Maximize initial revenue in an account through increased participation with one-to-one communication and enrollment.
  • Increase long-term revenue through increased persistency by using a local enrollment team for consistency year after year.
  • Implement a voluntary benefits program with no investment and no training by partnering with a “plug and play” carrier.

“Traditionally, major medical and employer-funded benefits have been the bread and butter of many brokers,” says Jay Hutchins, Colonial Life’s vice president of broker marketing. “But rapid industry changes are causing more brokers to incorporate voluntary benefits into their business model. It’s a matter not only of survival but also meeting their customers’ changing needs.”

Benefits costs are still a driving factor for employers, who are facing an increase of 9 percent in 2011, the biggest jump in five years.(1) Yet voluntary benefits can significantly increase employee satisfaction with their benefits program without affecting the bottom line. A recent survey found employees who are offered voluntary benefits in the workplace are more satisfied with their benefits than those who aren’t offered voluntary coverage — 53 percent compared with 34 percent.(2)

Opportunity in all market sizes

The need for and interest in voluntary benefits crosses all market sizes, according to the white paper. A recent survey found a large number of independent benefits brokers consider companies with 100 or fewer employees their primary target for the sales and marketing of voluntary worksite benefits.(3)

“We’ve uncovered a serious interest from our groups around voluntary products,” says Matthew Gregory, executive director, Leavitt Benefits Services. “Not only have voluntary benefits allowed us to better meet our clients’ needs, but they’ve also introduced an additional income source for us, which is critical in today’s market where medical commissions are being compressed.”

Success hinges on careful selection

A voluntary benefits practice can help brokers differentiate themselves from the competition — but only if done correctly. The white paper covers services beyond products that address clients’ top concerns and increase the likelihood of successful implementation. Brokers can look for a voluntary carrier partner that offers:

  • One-to-one benefits counseling by a local enrollment team.
  • Comprehensive, customized benefits communication options.
  • A reputation for excellent customer services.

“Brokers don’t have to become experts in voluntary benefits or invest in any additional overhead if they partner with an experienced voluntary benefits carrier,” Hutchins says. “By selecting the right partner, brokers can benefit from a true turnkey, plug-and-play experience. They’ll maximize their revenue with no investment and build stronger client relationships at the same time. It’s the classic win-win solution.”

The complete white paper is available at coloniallife.com/Latest News/White Papers.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through the workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service. Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world’s leading providers of employee benefits. For more information about benefits communication, call Colonial Life at (803) 798-7000 or visit www.coloniallife.com.

(1) “Employer Health Costs to Rise in 2011,” Reuters, September 2010

(2) “Beyond the Usual Benefits: How Employee Education Can drive Workplace Satisfaction,” Unum, August 2009.

(3) “Producer Attitude Scorecard Services (PASS),(TM) Colonial Life Results, Eastbridge Consulting, October 2010.

SOURCE Colonial Life

Source: newswire

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