In today’s economy and with the continuous changes associated with employer-sponsored health care benefits, companies are seeking creative ways to enhance the benefits offered to employees without adding new cost.
The most popular benefits package enhancement is offered at the worksite on a voluntary basis. The products can supplement medical, life and disability coverages through policies such as critical illness, accident, disability and long-term care. While these traditional voluntary benefits have become increasingly useful in supplementing employer-sponsored benefit plans, growing employer demands leave employees wanting and expecting even more.
“In a world where employees are constantly connected to their jobs through technology, they are struggling to find work-life balance,” says Ron Smuch, a sales executive for JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. “As an employer, it is more important than ever to offer creative solutions to assist employees with personal needs such as auto, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, financial planning and energy cost management.”
Smart Business spoke with Smuch about voluntary benefits, including personal insurance, and why providing employees with innovative and unique benefits can benefit them and the overall company.
Are personal insurance options expensive?
As with traditional voluntary benefits, there is no cost to the employer, and personal insurance options can further improve the ability to recruit and retain quality employees. With employees absorbing increased health insurance costs, providing access to potential cost saving solutions for their personal needs is a great way to improve employee satisfaction and commitment.
Why are these ‘extra’ benefits so vital in today’s business world?
The common reality of today’s work force, given our fast-paced society, is the fact that employees are increasingly pressed for time. As employees struggle to maintain work-life balance, it can be difficult to research and fully understand all components of personal insurance coverage such as auto, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance. By making these products available to employees on a voluntary basis at the workplace, employers can address this reality while boosting employee morale and productivity.
Introducing personal insurance options is a ‘win-win’ solution for the employer and employee. Affording employees the time and opportunity to have their personal insurance coverages reviewed can produce valuable savings that will enhance the current employee benefits package without adding cost. Employees will appreciate the extra effort, which will positively impact morale and productivity.
What other types of insurance can be offered?
Disability and life insurance products provide the best benefit for the dollars spent. Because they provide protection against lost wages, long- and short-term disability insurance plans are popular voluntary benefits. Buying disability insurance coupled with life insurance is more cost effective than purchasing coverage separately. Recently, there has been a renewed interest in permanent life insurance such as universal life. During these uncertain economic times, the security of life insurance makes it a highly sought benefit.
Another voluntary benefit that has become increasingly popular is ‘gap’ insurance. As health insurance premiums continue to increase, many employers are moving toward high-deductible plans in an effort to lower costs. This often requires employees to pay the difference between what their health insurance covers and what the services cost. Gap insurance offers a solution to help protect employees against increasing out-of-pocket expenses. Gap insurance pays lump-sum benefits for medical expenses resulting from inpatient hospitalization, outpatient services, diagnostic testing and rehabilitation services. For example, an employee who needs outpatient surgery may be responsible for a $1,000 deductible before the health insurance pays for any services. With gap insurance, the employee would receive a lump-sum payment for outpatient services and could use it to help satisfy the deductible. Gap insurance can be tailored to fit the needs of the employee’s out-of-pocket expenses.
How can a company go about offering personal insurance?
Introducing personal insurance options to employees can be as simple as partnering with a trusted insurance agency that offers value to your employees and has a good reputation. Employers should promote the opportunity and allot time for interested employees to meet one-on-one with a specialist to review their personal insurance needs and objectives. From this point on, the employer becomes the conduit, as the premium is paid entirely by the employee. There is no administrative paperwork or human resources concern for the employer. Should any employee decide to enroll, he or she owns the personal insurance coverage directly. The coverage is portable and would follow the employee if he or she leaves the employer. It is important to note that the coverage is a contract between the employee and insurance company and the claims are administered directly by the insurance company.
Ron Smuch is a sales executive for JRG Advisors, the management company for ChamberChoice. Reach him at (412) 456-7017 or email@example.com.