Avoid the Year-End Broker Boondoggle


When is the best time for considering a broker change for your employee benefit plans?  Changing brokers, after all, or strategic benefit advisors as I prefer to describe myself, is a big decision.  Any decision to change should bring with it the hope of better results down the road and a deeper sense of partnership to the mission at hand.  Whether you are looking for new and fresh ideas, a more responsive service team, a more robust suite of resources, or a nuanced approach and a multi-year benefits strategy to curb costs and drive your total rewards appeal, a change to your company’s benefits representation can deliver tremendous rewards.

Let’s assume that you are interested in a change, or at a minimum want to investigate competing options.  The question begs, when to begin this process?  After all, the dust has literally just settled on another renewal cycle and open enrollment season.  Do you really want to make time for this so far out from renewal?  I would say that this depends.  Are you a race-to-the-bottom shopper, or do you place value on building a long-term relationship with a trusted advisor?  In a race-to-the-bottom approach, relationships and resources may be secondary to your objective of short-term savings.  Flipping insurance carriers, or brokers for that matter, are just part and parcel of getting rock-bottom on short-term cost.  If on the other hand, achieving lasting value for your employees and bottom line are paramount, I would suggest that building a relationship with a trusted benefits advisor is deserving of something better than being thrust into the frenzy of a renewal cycle.

By making change to your benefits advisor in the first or second quarter you are allowed the luxury of time to get to know each other before the inevitable storm of renewal and open enrollment comes rolling in.  This is the time where we can begin to unpack the corporate philosophy, revisit historical challenges, and give the professionals and their teams on both sides of the table time to learn about each other’s style and preferences, and begin to shape the long-term, multi-year approach to strategically managing your benefits program.


Blessings to all,

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