You've decided to shop for a group benefit plan for your company, you don't know what to look for and where to begin and that can be dangerous. If you don't know what you're looking for someone's going to tell you.
First things first, for most insurance providers at least most of the top providers, they will not send you a quote directly. If you email them or call them they are going to send your information to a broker. They're likely going to send your info to the broker who places the most business with that provider and not necessarily the best broker. So how do you find the best broker.
Find a broker you will trust to make decisions for your company
I find like with anything else, the best place to start is to ask another business that you respect and ask for suggestions. It's important that you deal with someone that you have a good feeling with and you trust, because you're going to want to take their advice and not second guess them.
Communicate what you need
Next you're going to need to explain to that broker what you're looking for. The first thing that I ask clients what their goals are for the coming years. As with anything else, be clear on what your goals and values are and how this new benefit plan is going to help you achieve them. Is there a specific employee that is a great fit with your company and if you had 20 more of them you would be a massive success? Well then it's important that your benefit package is going to attract that type of staff member.
Don't shop for price
This may seem counter-intuitive but if you just tell your broker to find you the lowest price, they're going to communicate that to the providers and then each one is going to be scrambling to be the lowest on the spreadsheet. Periodically on typically an annual basis the insurance companies will put you through what is referred to as a "renewal". At your renewal the insurance company recalculates the amount you're going to pay based on how much of the coverage you used vs how much they think you're going to use in the coming years. If they set their prices too low initially this can be a HUGE adjustment and it is not uncommon to see 40, 50, 60 or 120% renewal increases. How could you handle your business if next year your largest bills increased by that amount? At the end of the day over a 5 year period you're original price is irrelevant because typically it all gets made back in the end.
There is more than this that goes into finding a plan but these are the major areas where I see people make the most mistakes. At the end of the day, your broker works for you and will act on the requests you make of them. Make sure that you are asking them the right questions and being actively involved in the process.
Still have questions?