Any Other Way Puts the Cart Before the Horse
No one has to tell you the cart goes behind the horse. Or that you put on your socks first, your shoes second. The correct order of things seems natural and makes sense. Yet when it comes to choosing a broker and health insurance provider, the way many organizations go about it makes no sense at all. So they fail. If you examine the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, it makes sense to find your broker before choosing your health insurance provider. Here’s why.
Perception Versus Reality
A common practice is to give appointment letters to multiple brokers and charge them with finding the best insurer. This comes from the mistaken belief that with this many knowledgeable professionals working on their behalf, they’re bound to deliver the best deals to choose from.
The reality is that all brokers tend to work with the same insurers. And the multiple appointments just confuse the marketplace. “How do we know who to work with?” is the obvious question plaguing insurers and the result is usually one of three outcomes:
- Insurers decide to give multiple “appointed” brokers the same surface-level, uncompetitive quotes
- Insurers only quote on a first come, first served basis so the best broker for you could be left out in the cold
- Insurers only quote for the broker carrying the appointment letter bearing the latest date
Another tactic is to “divide the market” – assigning the multiple “appointed” brokers with specific insurers to quote. Under the pretense of adding more fairness to the process, this also brings confusion and inefficiencies. The broker with the best relationship with a particular insurer can be cut out of approaching them for what could have been the best coverage at the best price.
First Find Experts You Like and Trust
Because price is not always the most important factor, it makes much more sense to invite multiple brokers to reply to your request for proposal (RFP) before considering insurers. Writing your own RFP lets you get to know each broker in-depth before you ever work with them – you choose the questions. Do they have other clients in your industry? How would they have handled a problem situation you’ve had in the past? How do they want to be compensated – commission or flat fee with a bonus based on savings? How do they fit your corporate culture and goals? What sort of services are they able to provide your HR department?
Approach each broker candidate like choosing a long-term partner. Look for a mutual chemistry and confidence that they understand how you value your employees. Then together you create a three to five-year health insurance strategy. Only when you’re confident you have a health insurance expert partner you can trust is it time to get quotes from competing insurers.
Then It’s Time for Transparency
Now is when you leverage your broker’s capabilities, relationships and experience. The right broker will spend time with you at this stage to decide the insurance strategy in partnership and to ensure all your needs will be met.
Working together with your broker, you can let them manage the entire insurance vendor selection process from writing an RFP that fits you to a tee to evaluating the proposals received in response. And they can supply objective insights into the quantitative and qualitative pros and cons of each potential vendor.
Instead of the cursory employee census, share all your past health insurance data and information. This gives your broker ammunition for negotiating with insurers. Cooperate with their recommendations as industry experts. The more you understand and trust each other, the more fruitful the relationship will be – because now the broker understands your needs, and makes recommendations that serve and address those needs.
Here’s Why This Process Works Better:
- Possible insurers are clear who they’re working with and will provide more competitive quotes for your plan
- Your broker partner gives their best effort for a client they see as a long-standing collaborator so short-term profit is less important than long-term satisfaction
- Your broker partner gets you a better plan that matches your culture and three to five-year objectives
- You get the best possible price because your expert negotiator could negotiate armed with trends from your past health insurance history
So you see now why you should find your broker before choosing your health insurance provider. When you are working truly in partnership, you rely on your broker partner to represent your needs at every step in the process. This is the first, and perhaps most important step, on your journey towards quality health insurance cover for your staff at the most affordable price. Just make sure your horse is in front of the cart.
One World Cover can help. We have long-standing and strong relationships with all of the world’s leading health insurers including Aetna, Allianz, AXA, Bupa, Cigna, AXA, GBG, MSH and Now Health, to name just a few. Click here to contact us. Get in touch: [email protected]