I’ll admit that I’m not well-versed in texting acronyms, but my kids have occasionally texted SMH to me. I didn’t know it before, but apparently SMH means “shaking my head,” or in other words, “Dad, you’ve said something ridiculous…again.” I thought my intelligence would improve in their eyes with age, but apparently more time is necessary.
Anyway, I found myself thinking SMH in early December when I spoke to three different employers, not clients, about their January 1 renewals. All were sizable employers for Western Massachusetts, and none had even really BEGUN their renewal process in early December. The story from their brokers was similar:
- “We got the renewal late from the carrier.”
- “We’re still waiting on quotes…”
- “We’ll be there soon.”
- “There’s still time…”
All three had prominent brokerage firms as advisors: one a fast-growing national firm, and the other two had large regional firms.
I was shaking my head and wondering why these employers, extremely attractive clients in our area, would put up with such lousy service. And it’s not just them. We hear this same story all the time.
Late renewals create tons of problems for employers and their employees:
- The employer doesn’t have enough time to consider alternatives and make an informed decision.
- The lack of time often forces the decision – stay with the current carrier and probably the current plan despite the rate increase.
- There is no time to consider fresh, creative ideas that could help control cost.
- The enrollment process is rushed, and employees notice.
- ID cards are delayed and not in hand on the effective date of the renewal, causing angst for employees or family members with doctor appointments early in the month.
The crazy thing is that this problem can be solved with a very simple renewal process. It’s basically Project Management 101. Here’s our timeline, currently in process, for a client with about 80 eligible employees and an April 1 renewal date:
|October 5, 2017||Mid-year planning meeting with client to cover goals and objectives, review existing plans, and create timeline for renewal process
|October 6, 2017||Email the insurance carriers to let them know the date we’ll need the renewal to meet our timeline
|January 4, 2018||Receive renewal rates from insurance companies
|January 10||Receive census from client
|January 12||RFP out to the market
|February 1||Meet with client to review the renewal and market study and discuss options
|February 7||Client decisions are communicated to MillBrook, who informs the insurance companies. MillBrook prepares the online enrollment system.
|February 15||Open enrollment begins with benefits fairs at both locations and employee meetings. Online enrollment system is opened.
|March 1||Open enrollment closes and electronic data is uploaded to insurance companies
|Late March||New ID cards are in employees’ hands
|April 13||MillBrook account manager calls client to make sure everything is going ok
If your renewal process is nonexistent or if your renewal always seems to arrive late, it might be time to expect more.
Call us at (866) 724-0008 or click the button below if you’d like to discuss this in more detail.