As the EVP Employee Benefits Practice Leader with New Benefits, I spend a lot of time talking with brokers. I often ask them if they remember back 10 years ago when I encouraged them to go out and sell voluntary benefits. Back then, they basically told me to get lost.
Those early products were what I call “Johnny Lunch-Bucket” benefits, created primarily for the fixed-wage earner who couldn’t afford traditional insurance. Since then, product manufacturers have paid close attention to the evolving needs of the employee and the changing landscape of employer sponsored benefit programs. Thanks to the evolution of products such as life insurance, critical illness and accident plans, everyone from the fixed-wage earner to the highly paid executive now has the opportunity to piece together a comprehensive benefits offering tailored to meet their specific needs. Although they were reluctant at first, brokers today have embraced voluntary benefits.
So Much More than Filling Gaps
Earlier this month, our CEO Joel Ray wrote about how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the benefits industry. Of course before the ACA passed, we had already been dealing with steady premium increases for many years—but Obamacare has certainly accelerated this trend. In these tumultuous times, employers are looking for ways to supplement their existing insurance-based benefits through the use of non-insurance solutions.
The Next Evolution
Today non-insurance products are truly light-years beyond what they were a decade ago. In this day and age, many leading consultant and brokerage houses include non-insurance products in their arsenal. Simply put, their clients see how these programs provide employees with increased advocacy, helping them navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system. To top it off, these innovative products complement an employer’s core benefits program, helping to further stretch the employee’s healthcare spending dollars.
There is no question that our non-insurance medical and lifestyle benefits help employees save time and money in uncertain times. However, non-insurance solutions do so much more than that. These state-of-the-art products offer employers a unique opportunity to increase employee productivity, boost morale and decrease absenteeism.
It’s become clear that these cutting-edge products are the next evolution in employee benefits. As a broker, if you are not currently offering these contemporary solutions, you’re already a step behind the curve.
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