Simply put: a benefits consultant advises an employer or plan sponsor about group insurance or employee benefits.
Now, let us show you why that’s so useful...
So, to recap, benefits consultants:
- Make sense out of the complex benefits landscape
- Partner with you to assess benefits administration needs
- Make sure you have the right technology in place
- Negotiate with vendors on your behalf
- Help you incentivize healthy employees, driving down risks
- Keep up with health insurance regulations for you
- Help you grow your business!
Many firms can advise you about benefits. How do you choose the right one?
You could start by sending out an RFP: Request for Proposal. The RFP lets you assess a consultant’s credentials and risk profile. It’s a great tool.
But while the RFP might be a good start, it can be easy for consultants to hide behind shiny graphics and page after page of research, which demonstrate their expertise...but not necessarily their fit for your company.
So bring candidates into your office and get to know them. Good benefit consultants should understand it’s all about you: your goals, your challenges, and how your benefits strategy impacts your business strategy. They must come in with an open, curious mind. They should be ready to understand your business, and demonstrate how they will help you solve the challenges you’re facing.
“Good benefits consultants should understand it’s all about you.”
Then ask other employers for references and their experience with specific consultants. Do they have a reputation of integrity? Proven results?
Look for an advisor who is knowledgeable, well established and a specialist in group benefits. Make sure he or she relies on a team of internal experts who offer in-depth technical and market knowledge.
“Make sure your consultant relies on a team of experts.”
A good consultant will come to the table with:
- Education for you and your employees about benefits
- Underwriting, actuarial support and risk analysis
- Regulatory compliance expertise
- Leverage and relationships within the benefits marketplace
- An understanding of the technology you need to manage your benefits
Don’t rest on an RFP. Get to know the person behind it. When you trust your consultant, you can trust your results.
A consultant should always analyze four perspectives of your company before recommending a plan:
- Employees. How many people work for you? What do they need? How do they feel about their current benefits?
- Leadership. What are your leadership’s goals? What is their risk profile? What are their financial boundaries?
- History. What is the history of your contributions, claims, utilization and carrier relationships?
- Marketplace. What is your employees’ current compensation? How does it benchmark against other similar companies?
These perspectives help consultants determine your risk tolerance, culture, past performance and ultimate goals. A great consultant never proposes a plan without first seeking to understand your business.
To find out, ask yourself these questions:
- Is your HR team breathing easier?
- Do your employees understand their benefits better?
- Are your employees leading healthier lifestyles?
- Are your benefits plan and your business goals aligned?
Then you’ve got a great relationship, and your benefits consultant is serving your business. Just remember: it’s all about you!
HCW is ready to make your benefits fit you!