May 22, 201210:03 AMBlog: Working Benefits
The Benefit of Moving Forward
Warren Buffett said, “In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Nowhere is this truer than when dealing with employee benefits. Typically, one of the most expensive line items on a business’ P&L statement, business owners and executives are charged with getting control of this rising cost. However, most people approach this task thinking that they’re in the driver’s seat when really all they’re doing is looking in the rearview mirror.
Over and over, we hear from people that they’re only interested in talking with us if we can get them a better price on their health insurance at renewal. Makes sense. However, this is a short-sided approach to a very expensive proposition. Any quote is going to be a retroactive look at your group’s past behavior. Your current rates will reflect how your group utilized the insurance this past year. Lots of claims mean higher rates. Your rates will also be high if you’re in a high risk industry or have high risk demographics.
So, how does a business get control of this cost? First, stop buying insurance like every other office product you purchase. Health insurance, or any other employee benefit you provide, is linked to employee behavior and is highly emotional because it deals with both money and life. Be proactive about your options and actively encourage employee involvement. Second, more than any other expense, employee benefits needs continuous communication. It’s complicated and boring. Most people don’t want to listen, until they need it. Remind them. Encourage them. You never know when your prompting will help someone get healthy – which only helps your bottom line. Finally, reward healthy behavior. There are as many ways to do this as there are businesses. Brainstorm with your group about what would resonate with the staff. Talk with an advisor about the various ways to implement a program to reach your goals. Be creative and have fun with it.
In today’s market, the only way to move forward without looking in the rearview mirror is to lay the road yourself.