Here's how personal gain and too-close relationships with insurance carriers may be impacting your employee benefits:
Does Your Broker Have Your Best Interests In Mind?
Always keep in mind that you and your insurance broker are operating with different concerns in mind. You want to provide your employees with the best possible insurance at the lowest possible cost. They want to keep you on as a client and earn a commission from your premiums. Usually, these aren't mutually exclusive, but the bottom line is that they are under no obligation to your employees.
As long as you keep coming back to them, they are going to keep doing what they've been doing. That's why it's so important to be at least somewhat knowledgeable about the insurance marketplace yourself or have an independent third party who can help you evaluate your plans. Otherwise, you may be operating under the assumption that everything is fine, not even realizing that there are much better deals out there.
We don't want to give the impression that all insurance brokers are out to rip you off, but when you have a ton of clients and work off of commissions it's easy to cut corners here and there. Your client is happy with their current arrangement and that's less work for you, so what's the harm in letting it ride? Another way that bias can work its way into your benefits decisions is the preexisting relationships between insurance carriers and insurance brokers.
How Close Is Too Close?
It's expected that an insurance broker will develop relationships with individual carriers over time. It's one way that a broker is able to offer you better service. The question is: how close can a relationship can be before it begins to impact their decision making process? Are they really trying to broker you the best deal or are they just doing a friend a solid? Can they even evaluate the quality of the insurance objectively if they have a close relationship with the carrier? They may be biased and not even realize it!
These are not easy problems to solve, and indeed the business world is full of issues like this. You need to remain vigilant. Getting too comfortable with your current arrangements will only lead to stagnation. Taking the time to reevaluate your insurance offerings on a regular basis and sticking up for your businesses interest is the way to fight this kind of complacency and nepotism. And of course, if you feel like you are on the losing end of your current arrangement don't be afraid to take your business elsewhere.
Summerlin-Roberts are experts in healthcare cost containment. We will work with you to ensure that you can provide your employees with the best possible health benefits at the lowest possible price, resulting in happier employees and leaner budgets. For more information about providing affordable health insurance that satisfies employees, please, contact us today.