In Part II of our series, we take a look at how the Great Resignation has impacted benefit brokers. Also check out Part I, focused on Third Party Administrators, here.
Millions of employees are leaving jobs that they held through the pandemic in favor of more flexibility, higher pay, and better benefits at new companies. Today, the percentage of employees looking to actively leave their roles or thinking about it really varies, with figures from 48% on the low end (via Gallup) to 95% on the high end (via Monster.com). According to the Department of Labor, a record 11 million employees left their jobs in April, May, and June of this year with forecasts trending higher in more recent months, though official data is not yet available.
Smart employers are looking inward and asking, “What can we do to keep the team we have?” and “What can we do to attract new talent and fuel our growth?”
Many are looking critically at their benefits package as a core element of their retention and recruitment strategies.
Voluntary benefits like transit benefits, childcare benefits, life insurance, disability insurance, accident insurance, even pet insurance, are becoming more common as employers are trying to woo and retain talent. Employers are turning to their benefits brokers for more compelling but cost-effective plans.
The impact of the great resignation on benefits brokers
Overall, the great resignation is an opportunity for forward thinking brokers to set themselves apart as a creative partner to their employers needs this plan year.
Employers are stretched thin
Employers are asking for more of their brokers and other external partners as they manage internal resource shortages and lost headcount. Therefore, employers more than ever expect benefit brokers to be providing excellent service through plan design, negotiation, and enrollment servicing. Brokers can set themselves apart by providing more detailed and on-demand reporting and recommendations to their employer clients.
There’s higher (potentially double) enrollment volume
Brokers are experiencing the added pressure of increased enrollment volumes during the great resignation. When an individual gets a new job, they have to re-enroll at the new employer, resulting in two enrollment events or more on average (per benefit!). This volume adds up fast for the employer, brokers, and TPAs to manage. Brokers can react to this trend by carefully evaluating enrollment and claims tools that make it easier to manage increased enrollment volume.
Move to simple, digitally managed enrollment
Due to the great resignation, increased telework, and employee digital-first expectations, a digital and streamlined enrollment experience is more important than ever. This also helps mitigate some of the challenges with higher enrollment volume if the enrollment process is adequately managed on the backend. Brokers should look carefully at digital-first enrollment solutions to ensure the experience is matching customer expectations for employers and employees. For example, TPA Stream’s Easy Enrollment solution makes it easy to receive and process claims digitally.
Increased demand for more data-backed plan design
During this plan year, employers are pressuring brokers to come up with more creative plan designs to be competitive without increasing costs. (True, this is the case every year, but due to the great resignation or ‘big quit’ its never been more acute). Brokers then need to provide best fit plan options for their employer groups, and they can do this through data-informed plan design.
How brokers can leverage the great resignation to grow their businesses
Fundamentally, the great resignation means more accounts, which spells big business for brokers who are adaptable to this trend and the new pressures on employers. Brokers can take advantage of the great resignation with data-informed plan design. Arguably, benefits plan design for groups of any size hinges on good data. Today, we’ll examine two data types: demographic data and claims data that brokers can use to design compelling benefits packages and win more business.
Data-informed plan design drives more business
With the general demographic trends of your workforce, brokers can extrapolate what benefits mix would be appealing and appropriate. If your workforce is predominantly 25-45, a child care FSA likely will be a popular, well-received choice. Transit benefits have become less popular due to the pandemic, regardless of age. Fewer than 4 out of 10 Americans report that they could cover a $1,000 unforeseen expense and plans like accident insurance not only make an employer more compelling, but also protect their savings and financial future.
Using only demographic data in the case of consumer directed healthcare or a self-funded plan, the picture is more unclear. If you’re using only age, gender, dependents, and zip, there’s so much variation that could occur, and it’s nearly impossible to obtain an accurate (and affordable) stop loss quote for a fully insured plan. Obviously, for large plan groups this is easier: claims data is available to craft plan options that meet the unique needs of the employer group. But claims data for small groups is hard to get.
Small group claims data can inform plan creation
TPA Stream has developed a solution that brokers and employers can deploy to their employees, receive consent to gather claims data on their behalf, and then use that data for claims processing, plan creation, and obtaining accurate stop-loss insurance if appropriate.
Because they have to offer more competitive packages that are tailored for the specific employee population, employers need to select packages and have options that are more cost efficient in ways that make sense but are more robust in areas that employees want to see. Using the claims data, brokers have the data they need to make the plan meet the unique needs of the employee population. This solution greatly improves the employee experience as claims are processed faster and more accurately when you partner with a TPA that works with TPA Stream.
Opportunistic, forward thinking brokerages will become even more creative in how they use data and technology to inform plan design and manage claims processing in partnership with TPAs. Using technology like TPA Stream’s Claims Harvesting technology, brokerages could have the claims data for small groups they need to accurately create plans that meet the unique needs of an employee population and are still affordable for the employers, by focusing on benefits that will be most helpful and appealing. Brokers that crack this code and help their employers keep and win more talent, will benefit most from the great resignation.