We’ve reached the middle of summer, which means there are only a few more months until brokers begin heading back into the busiest benefits season. Evaluating current plans, introducing new ones, crafting benefits structures that meet the cost and coverage needs of employers. It’s all just around the corner.
But for now, it’s still summer. So let’s use the gorgeous weather and summertime fun as inspiration to discuss the impending benefits planning meeting you will have with you clients: what to pack for your benefits picnic.
Progress Report: What Food Do They Like?
Hopefully, you’ve already had or scheduled face-to-face meetings with your clients to get an off-cycle progress report. This will give you a better idea of what they are expecting from you—for the purposes of our proverbial picnic, you’ll get an idea of the kind of food they like so you know what meal to bring to the picnic.
You wouldn’t want to bring a vegetarian a bunch of hot dogs; that’s just awkward. Find out if your client is interested in an HMO, HDHP, raising a current deductible, or wants to switch carriers all together.
Your Client Likes Sandwiches
So let’s say in your off-cycle meeting you found out that your client likes sandwiches. This is where it’s important to bring all pieces of the meal at the same time.
A common mistake is to plan for the primary plan only, but that’s only part of the overall structure. Supplemental options like health accounts, voluntary plans and expense reimbursed insured plans are often treated as an afterthought and introduced later on.
A much more cohesive and successful approach is to plan for the primary plan and supplemental options at the same time so you and the client can work together to see what works best.
Don’t Forget the Condiments
Let’s return to our metaphor.
The bread and the meat of the sandwich is the primary plan. It’s what makes up the base of the sandwich—you need it for the sandwich to work. Let’s say your client wanted wheat bread and turkey, so that’s what you brought.
So you and your client are sitting on your nice checkered blanket building your sandwiches, and your client looks into the basket for something else to add to the sandwich, but you forgot the condiments! No mayo, lettuce or cheese.
So your client keeps the bland sandwich and soon realizes he’s unhappy. The sandwich is lacking something. Your client has experienced the dissatisfaction, and an issue has been created. But if you brought the condiments initially, the conflict could have been avoided.
The mayo, lettuce and cheese are your supplemental options. Waiting to introduce them until later is just waiting for your client to voice a complaint about the incomplete coverage. The sandwich, just like any one-size-fits-all primary plan, will be lacking. So bring supplemental options to the picnic upfront!
Crafting the Perfect Sandwich
When you bring everything to the picnic, you and your client are able to work together to figure out what will make the best sandwich for them.
Maybe lettuce does NOT go with the turkey and mayo makes the bread taste weird—so for this sandwich cheese is the best way to go. Or maybe mayo AND lettuce make the perfect combo with the turkey and wheat. Making sure your bring everything to the picnic gives you the chance to figure this out together.
If you forget the condiments and only bring them later on once the client has complained chances are there will only be time to quickly add the cheese or the mayo, even if that isn’t the best option, because there isn’t time to plan sufficiently. You’re only allowing yourself time to react. This could lead to more unhappiness.
Sometimes, you have to have a short picnic because your client is short on time. In this case, test out the sandwiches on your own time—figure out what the best combinations are and be prepared with them when you go to the picnic.
Even though bringing all the condiments to the picnic up front is your best option, we understand that sometimes creating the perfect sandwich the first time around isn’t possible. It’s better to bring the condiments late than to not bring them at all.
Need Help Finding the Perfect Supplemental Condiments for Your Client’s Sandwich?
Reach out to one of our product experts who can help!