Employee Benefit Specialists

Like most industries, the employee benefits insurance industry has become more specialized over the years. One major reason for this is that group benefit insurance companies, though similar in their fundamental approaches, use different metrics and formulas to determine their own cost structures by line of benefit. Add to this: benefit taxation changes, changing technology, the increasing need for benefit plan related company liability protection, changing legislation around benefits and employee benefits can become complex very quickly. This is why you need the help of an employee benefit specialist advisory brokerage.

When it comes to high-quality employee benefit plan advice & support, really the days of the generalist broker are gone. Life insurance, financial planner or general insurance (home & auto) based generalists that also ‘do employee benefit plans’ can no longer properly present & maintain sustainable high-quality cost effective benefit plans because they simply don’t have the ongoing focused expertise to do so. They may be great at selling life insurance or mutual funds, but it’s easy for us to see the ‘holes’ in the plan design & funding approach of a generalist advisors’ plan design & claim funding setup. Also, employee benefit insurance tends to be much more varied & complex than life insurance and general insurance offerings. Partly because of this, the pricing of it can significantly be impacted by a skilled specialist Advisory that is assigned & enlisted to work on behalf of your company in this regard. You can choose to be really good at one thing, or be mediocre at many…we choose the first approach.

Financial Analyses and Benefit Plan Reviews

Experience has taught us, that most companies really don’t know if they have a good benefit plan or not, or if they’re paying too much for the one they have. The easiest way to ensure that you have the most progressive and comprehensive benefit plan for the money, that also has a design that protects it from large rate increases, is by allowing us to complete a 2-3 year financial analysis along with a  plan design review. By completing a full review of your plan, we’re able to assess where your plan currently stands and where savings and design improvements can or should be made.

Although there’s a bit of an investment of our time to complete our no obligation, no charge, benefit plan review, we’ve learned over our 70 years of combined industry experience that a long-term win-win working relationship is much more rewarding and beneficial to us than getting ‘low-ball’ first year plan rates that are not sustainable. We utilize our skills and expertise to support our clients as they grow and prosper their businesses. The other key to our long-term success is that we build on top of an already strong foundation which is why we continue to foster and maintain same win-win relationships with every insurer supplier we deal with…we benefit when you benefit.

Insurance companies are businesses and like us, need to make a profit. In this light, for efficiency sake, they apply similar metrics and analysis across all provinces. This standardized approach tends to negatively impact the pricing of many benefit lines particularly for Alberta based companies. As specialists, we’re aware of these variables and negotiate against these national based approaches for the benefit of our clients.

Our reviews provide comparisons of your current plan to what your plan could or should be with the help of skilled negotiation and/ or a more beneficial & current era plan design. We also think partial self-insurance ASO (Admin Services Only) for core, non-catastrophic, Extended Health Care and Dental claims funding together with our combined or standalone  HSA (Health Spending Account) and WSA (Wellness Spending Account), QubeFlex, is the best way to provide you with more control over how much your company spends on your benefit plan year after year. As part of our win-win philosophy we work towards a best value for the money approach. Insurance companies tend to charge as much as they can get away with and we’ve found ways to leverage our knowledge and experience to negotiate a fair and reasonable level of pricing that treats both parties of a policy contract fairly.

With this review process, there’s no requirement for the signing of an Agent of Record (AOR) letter nor is any contact made to your current broker agent or benefit insurance provider. This is a no charge, no obligation, second opinion review, from a specialist Advisory with over 70 years of combined industry experience perspective.

The following are some of the steps taken as part of our review process:

  • A financial fairness analysis of rates charged vs premiums paid: claims + expenses + reserves (for Insured plans) + trend.
  • For insured plans with over 5 employees, a 2 to 3 year comparison of whether or not the plan would have been better off partial self-insurance/ASO is completed.
  • If year over year age demographic change tables are provided, a comparable rate assessment to what is being charged by the Insurer is completed.
  • Suggested alternate plan design considerations and applicable pricing are provided, many times through the effective utilization of our add-on QubeFlex combined flexible HSA/ WSA spending account set-up.
  • Potential liability issues around benefit plans are identified with internal HR policy solutions recommended.
  • A summary recap with next-step plan evolving recommendations is provided which may or may not include the recommendation to market the plan to the relevant group insurer marketplace.

Frequently Asked Questions:

A company can’t know where their benefit plan should be if they do not have a complete financial and design review with current era options to consider as a starting point.

The short-term pricing of a group benefits plan, though important, should only be one aspect of a company’s goal to achieve the most progressive and comprehensive benefit plan for the money and the long-term benefit for them and their employees.