From time to time, I do come across small businesses that already have a benefits plan in place and, 9 times out of 10, it is a Traditional Group Insurance program and most of them are usually happy with it. The ones that aren’t happy are usually not happy because of 1 or more of the following:
- There was a Rate Increase that they did not plan for.
- The Renewal was just delivered and the rates are going into effect next week.
- The current Broker did not do anything about negotiating a more palatable Renewal.
If the SmallBiz Owner was working with a SmallBiz Benefits Specialist, then none of the above should happen with a Traditional Group Insurance program because a SmallBiz Benefits Specialist should be,
- Connecting with their Clients on a quarterly basis with information about what the Renewal will look like – This is pretty fundamental stuff for the Health and Dental benefits (the bulk of a benefits program premium comes from these benefits) where the Carrier makes available the Premium vs Claims information to its Brokers. How much Premium have they collected vs how much Claims have they paid out…compare that Ratio to the Carrier’s Target Loss Ratio and you have a pretty good idea where the Renewal may be heading.
- Delivering the Renewal within 45 days of the Renewal Rate Effective Date – Most Carriers send out their Renewals to the Brokers within 60 days of the Renewal Rate Effective Date. As soon as a SmallBiz Benefits Specialist receives the Renewal, they connect with their Client to set up a Year-End Review meeting to review the Renewal; the Plan Design; and the past year’s level of Service from the Carrier. A SmallBiz Owner should never feel like they have no choice but to stay with their current Carrier.
- Analyzing the Renewal they receive from the Carrier and asking for more information or clarification – Just because the Carrier looks at the numbers from an overview perspective doesn’t mean that the Broker should just deliver it verbatim. Sure, there is a Science behind setting the rates properly for the next year but there is also an Art component that shouldn’t be overlooked. Most Group Insurance Renewals are Negotiable.
Located in Cambridge, ON Sharkey Group Insurance provides independent Employee Benefits advice & counsel for Small Businesses across Ontario.