Busy season has come to an end. Brokers, rejoice! Before you shut down for vacation, you may want to take some time for reflection. It’s never too early for Brokers to start preparing and putting a game plan in place. It would be a mistake not to. After all, the more you can do now to prepare, the less likely the next busy season will feel like an all-out sprint when it comes time to begin quoting your business.
To start, let’s take a look at how you did last year. What worked? What didn’t work? And what can you do to improve business this year? Keep reading to see how you can have a better busy season by not repeating last year’s mistakes.
Do Your Homework
The old “the dog ate my homework” excuse isn’t going to cut it in the Broker world. The most important thing you provide is the right information. Brokers need to be knowledgeable on how to minimize costs and maximize confidence for Groups. Take this time to educate yourself on your Groups’ individual needs and any regulatory changes and consider different benefits structures, so you don’t go into busy season blind. Brokers who aren’t doing their homework now will have a lot of catching up to do later on. To help you get started, here are a few things Brokers should be aware of in 2019:
Changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA): While none of the ACA repeal bills have been enacted, the individual mandate tax penalty no longer applies in 2019. Brokers will need to be able to explain what that means for Groups and how it will affect them.
Increases to Health Insurance Premiums: Health insurance premiums have been changing every year for the last several years. 2019 will be no exception, as average premiums increased by less than 3 percent nationwide for 2019, while average benchmark premiums decreased across many states. While these changes are typically slower for small businesses, Brokers will still need to make their Groups aware.
New Carriers Offering Plans: In years past, some Carriers pulled out from offering certain plans in certain states, leaving Groups with fewer choices. So far, no Carriers are expected to withdraw from the states they serve, but many are now offering plans in new states in 2019. Make sure you’re educated on the newcomers in the states you serve.
Offer More Group Health Insurance Options
Employee benefits used to be a simple choice. However, more Employers are interested in providing employees with more choices, usually mixing and matching the benefits they need. Are you offering enough options to your Groups? Keep in mind that Employers hire employees of all ages, genders and backgrounds. For many Employers and Employees, a one-size-fits-all benefits package won’t work. Offering more benefit options will allow Employers and their Employees to better tailor their benefits package to their needs. Brokers can take advantage of FormFire's Quoting Engine software to easily pull quotes from different Carriers, so they can present Groups with comprehensive plan options.
Less Talking, More Listening
You’ve done your research, making sure you’re well-versed on the regulatory climate and different benefits options. But just because you have all this information, that doesn’t mean you need to overwhelm your Groups with excessive details. Save the nitty gritty, clause-by-clause details for yourself.
Part of having good communication skills means being able to drill down the essential questions: What does my Group need to be doing? How can I be sure my Group is in compliance? And what’s the most cost-effective solution? FormFire can help you present concise health insurance options to your Groups in an easily digestible manner.
Using our Proposal Master software, Brokers can produce custom, branded proposal documents to deliver and present to Groups, making it easier to stay focused on your key business goals. Keep in mind that if you’re talking too much, then you’re probably not listening to the Employer. With the wealth of knowledge you’ve obtained throughout your career, it can be easy to forget to listen to what your Groups have to say. Making a conscious effort to listen to your Groups’ questions and concerns will allow you to meet needs and quote more business.
Keep Up with Your Groups
2018’s busy season just ended, and you deserve a nice vacation. Whether you’re headed to the beach or the ski slopes, just make sure you’re still checking email and making yourself available to the Groups you manage. Your Groups will appreciate if you’re available during this time. After enrollment ends, there’s still a lot of ongoing work you’ll have to keep up with year-round, such as Qualifying Life Events for Employees and renewing Group plans. Remember, the benefits package your Groups chose last year might not be work for them again this year. What if their workforce has grown? Or maybe older employees have retired, opening the door to younger workers with different needs? Keeping up with your Groups throughout the year will help Brokers be able to identify new opportunities for Groups come quoting season.
Leverage Technology to Conduct Business
What kind of technology are you using? While Employers want to know that their Broker is tech-savvy, and you can also benefit by making good use of technology. Now is the time when you should start evaluating the platforms you currently use and look into adding new technology to your Broker arsenal. Are you still using paper to conduct business? There are many benefits to online data collection, and transitioning to a digital platform like FormFire will save you time and set you apart from your competitors.
Part of being tech-savvy also means having an online presence. Is your website outdated? Give yourself a more modern look with a new landing page. To establish your own look and feel, FormFire gives Brokers the option to create fully customizable branded landing pages. Additionally, if you’re using multiple platforms to complete different tasks, such as pulling quoting from Carriers and creating Group presentations, it’s more efficient and cost-effective to consolidate these tools into one. FormFire’s “all-in-one” digital platform offers Brokers all the tools they need to make busy season a breeze.
Want to have a better busy season in 2019? Avoiding these mistakes by preparing now will help Brokers quote more business at the end of the year. Contact FormFire today to learn more or request a free demo to see how our system can benefit you this year.