What does an insurance broker do?

33186456_MYou have likely heard the term before, but do you know what it means? In the modern era, insurance is as ubiquitous as sliced bread, but the people that make the insurance industry hum are far less known. So many experienced, talented individuals work within the insurance industry, but what exactly do some of them do? Today we will talk about the insurance broker.

An insurance broker serves a very critical role in the insurance industry. Large companies and other business entities utilize insurance brokers specifically to offer a level of risk management and special insurance product. Brokers are specifically trained to act on behalf of their clients. They provide advice in the best interest of their clients.

The ins-and-outs of an insurance broker’s job

An experienced insurance broker should be able to help you identify business risks and solutions to inform your decision on what insurance products to purchase. They may also be able to provide you with solutions on how to manage risk in other ways.

An insurance broker may specialize in your industry specifically, or they may deal with many different industries and insurance types. Another area where an insurance broker can offer assistance is through technical advice. This is especially useful if you are in a position where you need to make a claim.

When it comes to utilizing particular aspects of your various insurance policies, it may sometimes be difficult to know the terms, conditions, benefits, and exclusions. A qualified insurance agent should have no problem helping you navigate the wide range of options available to you. Depending on your circumstances, together you can make the most of your insurance budget.

Why should you bother with a broker?

Insurance brokers are extremely knowledgeable about the industry they work in. They often have access to many different policies and insurance agencies. This means they may be aware of policies that are not normally available to most customers.

Some insurance policies can also be quite complicated. When you are working with figures, numbers, and policies you are not familiar with, having a partner who can navigate the insurance waters with ease may be just what you need.

Insurance brokers also do a great job at landing you a good deal for your money. Since they have an in-depth understanding of your unique business needs, they have an advantage when negotiating terms on your behalf.

Another, oft-overlooked area of what a broker does is that of risk management. A risk management program puts some of the responsibility for prevention and loss where it should be, which often results in lower premiums. Loss reduction is key to many businesses.

Where payment is concerned, an insurance broker might charge a fee for their services or receive a commission from the insurance company once the ink has dried. Whatever their fee or payment model, they are required under the law to make it clear to you before any negotiating is done.

Just as you would ensure your due diligence when choosing an insurance plan, the same should be true of finding an appropriate broker. You will need to be able to count on that person to come through with advice or other information when the time comes.

Fortunately, that’s where Hays Companies comes in. For an insurance broker in Salt Lake City Utah that you can rely on for all your insurance and risk management needs, we offer a level of customer service and industry knowledge that is hard to beat. Why put your business in the hands of a company you can’t be one-hundred percent certain has your back? Contact us today. We can help.

Happiness = Productivity

How do you know if your employees are happy? How do you know if you’re happy with the way things are?
“We do not believe in Gross National Product. Gross National Happiness is more important.” – King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck
The concept of Gross National Happiness was first enacted in 2008 by Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the Kingdom of Bhutan, as a philosophy that values collective happiness as the role of government and leadership.
If happier employees make more productive employees, shouldn’t the happiness of your employees be the center of focus? What do your employees want? Better benefits. Lower costs.
Value-based benefits are designed for that purpose exactly: increase benefits while decreasing overall costs. That’s our goal here at Hays.

American workers crave flexibility

62352935 - many thumbs up in front of a blackboardAmerican workers are increasingly seeking out flexible work arrangements and are willing to switch jobs to get them, according to Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace report. According to the report, more than one-third of workers surveyed said they would change jobs for the ability to work at home or another remote location full-time. About 37 percent of workers said they would leave their current job for one that allows them to work remotely on a part-time basis.

More than 50 percent of workers said they would switch jobs to gain flex-time — being able to shift their work schedule as needed to help them better meet the demands of their personal lives. Other studies back the idea that flexibility is important to workers today. A PwC survey shows that employees who are allowed to work remotely at least one day per week or are allowed flex-time reported significantly higher job satisfaction than those who don’t.

In addition to flexibility, employees also are keenly interested in financial rewards beyond their salaries. Pensions may be disappearing, but 51 percent of those surveyed said they would leave a job without a pension for one that offered one. About 40 percent said they would switch for a job with profit sharing and 54 percent said cash bonuses were a priority. For more information about the Gallup workplace report, go to this link.

Value-based Benefits

The best of both worlds: A value-based health plan can provide better health care AND reduce your company’s health care costs. Let The Hays Companies help your company learn more about this revolutionary new approach to keeping your employees healthy.

Timeline of Value-based Benefits Design

1990s: Pitney Bowes was one of the first to implement the V-BID concept. The Fortune 500 Company experienced a “$1 million savings from reduced complications after lowering copayments for asthma and diabetes medication.”¹  In 2007, the company no longer required copayments for cholesterol-lowering statins for its employees and beneficiaries with diabetes or vascular disease and lowered all copayments for employees and beneficiaries prescribed clopidogrel- a clot-inhibiting drug. 
2004: Mayo Clinic’s self-funded health plan increased cost sharing for its employees and their dependents for specialty care visits and other services such as imaging testing and outpatient procedures. The plan also removed all cost sharing for visits to primary care providers and preventative services like colorectal screening and mammography. This resulted in large decreases of diagnostic testing uses and outpatient procedures over the next four years and showed an immediate decrease of image usage. Beneficiaries decreased visits to specialists but did not make greater use of primary care services. ¹
2005: Novartis Pharmaceuticals implemented V-BID program for medications that treated asthma, hypertension, and diabetes for all employees and dependents enrolled in the self-insured health plan. Copayments were eliminated for medications treating these conditions of all members paid 10% and 7.5% of the cost of retail and mail order prescriptions, respectively. This implementation resulted in an increased net payment for drugs used in the treatment of the conditions but was offset by a decrease in net payments for medical services specific or related to these conditions. The offset produced a net savings in 2007 compared to 2004.
2008: Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina began a value-based insurance design program lowering copayments of brand-name medications and eliminating them for generic brands to treat diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and congestive heart failure for those who opted in the program. Adherence improved for enrollees when compared to others whose employers did not offer a similar program.
2011: Connecticut instituted the Health Enhancement Program for state employees which followed Value-based insurance design principles by lowering patient costs for certain primary and chronic disease preventive services with requirements for enrollees who receive these services.
2013: Michigan expanded Medicaid under the ACA called Healthy Michigan Plan which relies on V-BID to improve access, control costs and enhance personal responsibility. 
¹Wikipedia: https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/value-based_insurance_design

How can an employer increase health care quality and decrease costs by using financial incentives?

Align customer financial incentives with valuable health services and care. Read what The TriZetto Group, Inc. has to say about Value-Based Insurance Design

How does your company’s health plan affect consumer choices?

Studies have shown that when barriers, like costs, to health care are reduced, there is a significant increase in patient compliance to treatment and preventative care recommendations which result in cost savings for the employer.
This concept of increased health care quality and decreasing costs is a demand-side approach to health care reform called value based benefits design. Value based benefits refers to encouraging health plan policy holders to consume health services that are high-value and therefore increase the overall health of the enrollee pool population.
Financial incentives are used to promote cost efficient health care and consumer behavior. Health plans may save money by covering preventative care, wellness, and chronic treatment of high blood pressure conditions and/or diabetes. For example, many companies offer $0 copay options on chronic diabetic treatment in order to create a healthier population of diabetics and reduce large claims in the future.
Cost-sharing structures created by health insurers determine whether the costs will be reduced in the future or not. Multiple studies have shown that simply charging high cost sharing for all health care services will lead to increased costs and decreased health in the population. The strategy that gives incentives to compliance and cost-effective care, i.e. value-based design, is more effective and shows more positive results over time.

Pulling ahead in a new age of wellness

59271982 - employee wellness program businessman work on white broad, top viewIf there’s been one consistent word settling into our public consciousness, it’s wellness. Wellness is a noun describing the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal.

We now live in a hyper health-conscious society. Whether you choose to eat organic, to practice yoga, or to maintain a proper work/life balance, the focus on ensuring a high level of wellness in one’s personal and professional life has taken center stage.

Putting Wellness to Work for You

The fact is this: companies around the globe are taking wellness very seriously. Not only does a happy, healthy employee do a better job, but they are less likely to get ill, miss work or unintentionally sicken those around them.

Yet a problem arises when companies take a “whack-a-mole” approach to wellness. Trying implement new programs with little to no experience in doing so can cause more problems than it solves.

The main reason why so many fail is because companies far too often approach wellness with a one-size-fits-all or band-aid approach. Proper employee wellness is about more than a fitness app. The key here is employee buy-in.

Do Your Employees Care?

The problem of ideas coming down from the top by decree isn’t exclusive to wellness. Organizations can be quick to a decision without analyzing how their program may impact the people it is meant to help.

Prevention-based wellness is driven by behavioral factors. In some cases, it represents a complete lifestyle change. Things like that are never easy, let alone in the workplace. It takes time, commitment, and most of all, employees that believe in the cause.

So, let’s say you are committed, you’ve got a program ready and your people are responsive. What do you do next?

The How and Why of Wellness

In order to run a successful wellness program, an organization must first make sure people know about it. It must be internally marketed. In today’s workplace, people work very hard — typically doing the same task over and over — so they can miss new things. Find outside-the-box ways of alerting your people.

In addition to finding some more breathing room, wellness is just as much about physical and mental help. Did you know that many chronic diseases can be prevented? Yet chronic diseases account for nearly two-thirds of all healthcare spending.

These conditions are also often the most preventable. From heart disease to stroke, cancer and obesity – these diseases can be stopped and even reversed with a proper health and wellness regime.

Always Be Creative

Wellness programs should always be creative. The last thing anyone wants to be is bored, especially when the topic is so important. Unique, dynamic wellness programs – much like the ones we create here at the Hays Companies – engage and enlighten your people, thus furthering the evolution to healthier ways of life.

There are plenty of ways to stay on top of the latest health trends. In the end, the point is one of stimulation. Human beings must be stimulated to create change.

Keeping Healthcare Costs in Check

If there is one thing a working wellness program can do, it’s help keep your healthcare costs from exploding. Every year healthcare becomes more expensive. Small companies especially have a hard time bearing this burden.

Wellness programs can help. Healthy, happy employees don’t miss work and are far more productive. Morale improves when everyone is happy. What’s not to like about that?

No matter the size of your organization, you can benefit from a wellness program, but are you unsure where to start? Here at the Hays Companies, we specialize in creating health and wellness programs specifically designed for your company.

We have many, many years experience in this area. Want to hear more? Feel free to visit our website by clicking or tapping here, or call us at (801) 505-6500.

We can help your company manage the increasing costs of health coverage

39554244_MMany employers are bracing for another year of increases in the cost of offering health insurance coverage to their employees. Surveys by the National Business Group on Health and other organizations show that many large companies are expecting premium increases in the range of 5 percent to 6 percent.

Continued increases in the cost of offering health insurance coverage to their employees has many companies focusing on cost management and containment strategies, according to the 22nd annual Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey by Willis Towers Watson. Smaller employers, which don’t have the group purchasing power of larger companies are especially concerned. While acknowledging that health insurance coverage is vital for recruiting and retaining quality employees, many employers are growing increasingly dismayed over the annual cost increases.

Employers are searching for a variety of cost-containment solutions, such as employing telemedicine, investing in wellness programs and tapping health care networks that strike the best balance between quality care and cost savings. But which solution is the right one for your company?

At The Hays Companies, we offer customized cost-effective health, work/life, voluntary and other benefit programs to clients worldwide. From healthcare coverage to life insurance and beyond, our expert guidance supports your goals of administering employee benefits and managing expenses. Our team of specialists work hard to keep our clients’ medical plan renew costs as low as possible. Each company is unique, as are our plans to help them with this important aspect of their business.

Contact our Employee Benefits division to find out how we can help your company with cost effective health and wellness strategies. Reach out to us and a local Hays specialist will be in touch. We look forward to talking with you!