Your distribution engine powers sales, but the fuel you need for each market segment differs. The capabilities you need to support voluntary sales by brokers in the small case market versus those focused on the large case market vary greatly. So the question for insurers planning a down market move is: will you find the distribution you need?
How to make your benefits products a good fit for small businesses
Looked at from a marketing lens, my personal truth is that I am a demographic of one. And anyone who can grasp that and understands my needs and preferences will score some serious points and wallet share. This type of mass personalization could be key to successful benefits insurance small case marketing on Main Street.
You have surely heard it said that small businesses are the growth engine for America. Today, the phrase has a special ring to it for benefits insurers. The small business market is often viewed as an opportunity attractive to growth-minded insurers because the focus of the majority of carriers is on the larger, highly-competitive end of the market.
Something normal happened during Mardi Gras this year in New Orleans. Amongst all the chaos, a conference broke out. Workplace Benefits Renaissance held its annual event. The meeting draws notable thought leaders and personalities within the industry and, if you were able to resist the revelry in the streets, there were some interesting stories heard and lessons shared.
Photo courtesy of http://bit.ly/1tVwkpT
On February 2, Groundhog Day, something different happened at the annual LIMRA Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar (ETSS). For the last three years, EIS Group has sponsored ETSS and each year, the latest approaches and challenges to benefits enrollment are discussed. But just as the venerable Punxsutawney Phil himself is prone to do, each year the attendees see their long shadows – of legacy technology constraints – and withdraw to comfortable, insulated dens rather than embrace an early spring of much-needed change. Not this year. For the first time, the conference coalesced around the root cause of enrollment problems: connectivity.
When it comes to benefits insurance market expansion…it’s good to be a “yes” man
What stood out this year at the LIMRA Group and Worksite Benefits Conference was all of the talk around small businesses. Yes, it is an election year. But no, this was not just an echo of every candidate’s familiar refrain about how small business is the growth engine for America and must be supported. For benefits insurers, this is an every year issue. Carriers struggle to make small business a plank in their platform for business growth. The result is that growth opportunities are left on the table while the majority of carriers are forced to battle over the same books of business in the large and jumbo case markets.
Last week I had the pleasure of joining my industry colleagues at the LIMRA 2016 Enrollment Technology Strategy Seminar in Charlotte, NC. We spent a fun evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame which also presented me with an interesting juxtaposition because NASCAR is a sport based on speed, strategy and serious horsepower, yet our industry has been stuck behind the pace car for quite some time.
Who is the current pacesetter? It’s the majority of group benefits insurers with legacy systems that lack the horsepower necessary for their business to move up in the field.
Something is altering the basis of competition in the voluntary benefits marketplace
As we get ready for Super Bowl 50, there’s no better lesson for business than the half-time adjustments made by coaches and players. Teams go into the big game with a plan that they’ve prepared and practiced all week and when they show up, they are ready to execute. This is not too dissimilar to how some of the group benefits carriers have planned and prepared for the shifts within the voluntary benefits marketplace and have been putting up points.
LIMRA’s Group and Worksite Benefits Conference was once again a vital and energetic meeting place for the industry. EIS Group has been a premier sponsor for the past three years, and we have had many conversations with talented people who are struggling with the transformation taking place within the industry and how to respond to it with their hard-to-adapt legacy technology.
The results are in from our second annual Enrollment Technology Survey, and guess what? There are really no surprises. The results of our survey of LIMRA Enrollment Technology Conference attendees and others didn’t show large differences with our 2014 survey. But, like a tipping point being reached in a slow arch, some small measures give clues to the direction of insurer initiatives in enrollment plans and enrollment technology. And unfortunately, technology infrastructure limitations are still standing in the way of insurers being able to execute their growth strategies.