More often than not, employee benefits products and plans are developed based on a perceived need, instead of being based on the actual need of the customer. Additionally, once one of these products is introduced into the market, many of its competitors will introduce a similar one, so they can say that they meet a specific requirement, without first determining if there is an actual need for the product or not.
Plan Sponsors are Underrepresented
As a result of this kind of mentality, the employee benefits industry continues to fail to meet the goals of plan sponsors. Additionally, when industry conferences and seminars are held, the growing trend is that these events are planned by event sponsors, changing the landscape of who attends. Today, plan sponsors are marginally represented at these important industry events. Comparatively, service providers, carriers, and plan advisors tend to be the groups that are best represented.
Since plan sponsors are underrepresented at these events, the employees actually using the benefits in the end are presented with products that they don’t need or want. This represents a current trend that makes the customer an afterthought not only at industry gatherings, but also during product and service development.
The First Cubic Forum
Recently, the first ever Cubic Forum was held in Toronto. Unlike other industry events, the purpose of this gathering was to bring together plan sponsors. The sponsors who attended this event were from areas throughout Canada and represented over 400,000 active employees and retired workers. They also represented clients with employee benefits from all of the major carriers. During this forum, some of the major areas of discussion that were highlighted included:
- Keeping the cost of employee benefits low
- Managing high-cost drug claims
- Determining how to measure the performance of a benefits plan
- Developing a Preferred Provider Network or enhancing a current one
- Measuring how well investments in employee health and wellness pay off
Some of the areas of focus at this event that were not as important to the plan sponsors included managing short and long-term disabilities, shifting costs to plan members, and communicating information to plan members.
Meet Your Employees’ Benefit Needs
Although product and service development may continue to be highly influenced by manufacturers, service providers, and vendors, instead of plan sponsors, you can still provide your employees with benefits that meet their specific needs. If you’d like to know more about how you can do this with a benefits package specifically tailored to the needs of small businesses, please contact us at BlueRock Wealth Management today.