Five Tips to Make 2023 a banner Year
BY JOSHUA SCHNEELOCH, December 1, 2022 California Broker Magazine
The end of the year is one of the most exciting and rewarding times for voluntary benefits agents and their employer clients, as well as the workers who will enjoy enhanced worksite benefits. These benefits are specifically designed to meet their personal needs and on-demand lifestyles. In this article, I will share five tips to leverage your existing groups and substantially boost your commissions next year.
First a little industry background. Voluntary benefits are products an employer offers at a discounted group rate but are paid for (either fully or partially) by an employee through payroll deduction. They supplement other traditional benefits (health insurance, retirement, etc.) and generally don’t have any direct costs to the employer. Examples may include pet insurance, paid disability, tuition assistance, etc. The market size of the voluntary benefits segment of insurance, measured by revenue, is $87 billion this year, a 5% annual increase that is expected to continue to surge.
Voluntary benefits, also known as worksite benefits, supplemental benefits, or employee-paid insurance, allow employees to purchase customized insurance protection at competitive premiums and fill any gaps left by the core benefit programs.
They aid employers by supplementing their benefits packages, thereby improving employee total well-being while controlling health care costs. In this sense, voluntary benefits elevate employers and employees simultaneously, which makes selling these products such a perfect opportunity. These customizations benefit employers by increasing retention: an Aflac survey found that employees who were offered voluntary benefits were 19% more likely to be satisfied with their job and 14% less likely to be job searching. As one of the top voluntary benefits agents for AFLAC, becoming a “wingman” for Dickerson Insurance, I built my business with the following basic approaches. So whether you rep for AFLAC, Colonial, Combined, Unum, Allstate, MetLife, Humana, or any of the other leading voluntary benefits carriers, these simple tips can boost your book of business for 2023.
1. DON’T SELL, SOLVE
This first tip may seem anathema to sales, but powerful nonetheless. What I mean is — you should approach your clients as a solution partner rather than a salesperson. Your clients have problems they need to solve, and most don’t want to hear a sales pitch. So become focused on their individual needs: employee retention and satisfaction, etc. Voluntary benefits serve that purpose and solve that problem in many ways.
2. FRIES WITH THAT?
Not only does Micky D’s dole out two billion burgers every year but they also sell more than nine million pounds of french fries every day. This revenue bonanza owes much of its success to employees asking a simple presumptive question: “Fries with that?” In the same way, voluntary benefits agents, who sell a small slice of the insurance pie, can simply ask, “Do you offer healthcare insurance to your team?” Or, “Do you think your team would be interested in pet insurance or travel insurance, or legal insurance at a discount?” This one question can open the door to incredible commissions next year.
3. RUN THE NUMBERS
Numbers don’t lie and sales of course are all about numbers. Imagine the following scenario. Let’s say you serve just one of your voluntary benefits groups with mandatory health insurance, say 25 employees. The average monthly subsidized premium is about $450. If we assume an enrollment rate of 75%, you will have about 20 employees paying $9,000 per month in premiums. At a 5% commission, you will earn an additional $450 per month or $5,400 per year. That’s just one group. Think of what 10 or 25 groups can do for you by simply asking a few simple questions, all incremental on top of your existing book of business, by leveraging the relationships you already have developed.
4. KNOW THY CLIENT
Do regular policy reviews and service outreach with your existing clients to look for gaps in your clients’ coverage, which will open the conversation for cross-selling other services. Remember that every area of need is potentially another line of business or revenue stream. Most importantly, as you solve more and more of your client's needs, they become more and more likely to stick with you over the long haul.
5. GO DIGITAL
Establish a competitive edge by increasing your digital footprint with a fully automated quoting/enrollment landing page. Digital platforms have become more essential to enrollment. The research shows that 70% of enrollment is done online these days. Set up your digital storefront to simplify the customer experience during the insurance enrollment process, and expand your potential market well beyond face-to-face sales.
Healthcare enrollment is happening as you read this article. This means you have this short window to make 2023 bigger than this year, much bigger, by using these few simple tips to tap into the vein of gold under the goldmine of voluntary benefits
JOSHUA SCHNEELOCH is the founder and CEO of White Wing Insurance Solutions and White Wing Wealth and the author of the upcoming memoir, “The Favored Son, How a Black Orphan Conquered Europe on His Way to America.”