Best Practices for Managing Group Benefits Summer Policy Renewals

It’s no secret that Open Enrollment (OEP) and Annual Enrollment (AEP) seasons are high time for policy renewals throughout the life and health insurance industry. However, for large and small group benefits, there is a peak for policy renewals that takes place every summer, as well. 

In this blog, we’ll discuss best practices your employee benefits agency can take to manage upcoming summer renewals with ease. We’ll cover tips and tools your agency can integrate into your processes to make this year your best summer renewal season!

Tips for Managing Summer Policy Renewals

Policy renewals are a critical part of retention for life and health insurance agencies. It is well-known that the cost of acquiring a new client is significantly higher than the cost of retaining and cross-selling a current client. So, how can you streamline your summer policy renewals to ensure you maintain your retention? Let’s discuss some best practices. 

Upcoming Policy Renewal Reminders

Insurance-specific automation is a crucial tool every benefits agency should have in its retention arsenal. Automation can help you stay on top of your business and allow your teams to work smarter. Automation built specifically to monitor upcoming policy renewals is a great place to start. 

In AgencyBloc’s life and health insurance-specific agency management system, agencies build policy renewal workflows that can be customized to fit the needs of their agencies. These workflows trigger when a policy is due for renewal and can send tasks or emails out to internal team members or the policyholder. 

Using automation, agencies can better manage their upcoming policy renewals and stay ahead of their workload. 

Conduct an Employee Benefits Review

Renewal time is an opportune moment to review a client’s current coverage and upcoming needs. Some top areas to consider covering include:

  • Goals. What are the client’s goals? How do they want to set their benefits package apart from their competition? What are their employees looking for in coverage? Insurance is a relationship business; thus, it’s essential to be on the same page with your clients to ensure their needs are being met and that you’re doing everything you can to retain them in the future.
  • Budget. The sticky part of the conversation but an important and necessary part. What is their budget for insurance? What types of plans (fully-insured, self-funded, level-funded, HMO, PPO, HDHP) do they want to offer? Are they planning to contribute to individual premiums? If so, how much?
  • Review Their Data. Having historical data about enrollments, usage, claims history, and underutilized services can help tailor the conversation to your group and ensure they have the services they need and the ones they use the most. This can deepen your relationship with the client and improve retention.
  • Additional Coverage. The question of coverage can be a loaded one that has many interlocking pieces. What types of services do they want in addition to health insurance coverage? Which ancillary products do they want to add on and offer to their employees? Do they want to provide additional services, like an employee assistance program? 
  • Notable Changes. Another essential part of the conversation is to cover the changes the group encountered over the last year. Did they hire a significant number of employees that would change their coverage options? Did they expand into new territories or states that would affect their future coverage? Likely you’ll know this already, but it’s good to review the notable changes that could affect their options for the upcoming year’s coverage. 

Provide a Timeline

Come prepared with a timeline for your client that includes the kickoff meeting for all participating employees, enrollment window, and underwriting (if applicable), or work on one with your client. Having this in place ensures that the renewal stays on pace and nothing is missed. 

Automated Policy Submission Management

Policy submissions are another area where your team can employ insurance automation. During peak renewal seasons, like the summer or OEP, it’s easy to lose track of policy renewal submissions or drop the ball on ones the carrier rejected. Using automation, you can better manage these processes. 

With AgencyBloc, group benefits agencies build policy submission workflows that monitor the policy submission process. They create internal and external notifications that alert policyholders and the agent of record when the policy has been submitted and approved. But they also build ones that alert the agent (or the submission team) when the policy has been rejected. This allows the team to act faster and resubmit rejected policies. Finding and acting upon these low-hanging fruit opportunities increases approval rates and retention. 

BONUS! Automated Recurring Communications 

It’s great to contact your groups at renewal time, but it’d be even better to maintain a dialogue with them throughout the year. The benefit of automated checkpoints is that you can see how the group is doing, learn about the benefits they like, and hear any frustrations they’re having. This information is essential when it comes to renewal season. 

“It’s really important for an agent/broker to be engaged throughout the year with their clients. They can pick up a lot through conversations with the leadership team as well as employees throughout the year. The more engaged you are, the easier it is to catch gaps in coverage or even benefits that really are not benefiting the group.”

—Marcie Strouse, Capitol Benefits Group

With AgencyBloc, agencies use insurance workflow automation and AgencyBloc’s Email Marketing to create touchpoints throughout the year with each client. Some common touchpoints include:

  • New client onboarding
  • Happy birthday emails to the group’s primary contact 
  • 1, 3, 6, and 9-month check-ins
  • Quarterly benefit tips 
  • Enrollment season preparation tips

Using these tactics, group benefits agencies can stay in touch with their employer groups and maintain a connection. This connection improves their chances of retention and the likelihood of a successful cross-sell. The #1 reason clients leave a health and life insurance agency is due to a lack of meaningful communication. Instead of only communicating when you have to or when you want something, communicate consistently to build rapport and trust. That type of communication resonates with your clients and makes them want to stay with your agency.

Tools Group Benefits Brokers Can Use to Streamline Policy Renewals

There are many ways to streamline your agency’s renewal season and make your team’s efforts more effective. And the right tools can help make all of the difference.

Two tools life and health insurance agencies and benefits brokers should consider:

  • Industry-specific agency management system
  • Group benefits quoting and proposal tool

An agency management system, or AMS, is a CRM that is designed specifically for your industry niche. AgencyBloc’s #1 Agency Recommended Management Platform is built specifically for the life and health insurance industry and is designed to help benefits brokers streamline their processes. Using AgencyBloc’s suite of tools, agencies can track prospects and clients, manage policies, process commissions, automate client communications, manage sales processes, and run detailed analyses. 

The centralized, multi-carrier quoting tools in Quote+, an AgencyBloc solution

Source | AgencyBloc

Quote+, an AgencyBloc solution, provides small group benefits brokers with a walkthrough process for quoting employer groups. Compare community rated, medically underwritten, and ancillary rates from a wide variety of carriers in a secure, centralized marketplace. Create customizable employer-ready proposals, gather medical health questionnaire information, and map enrollment data directly to the carriers seamlessly. 

The tools you use matter. Having the right tools in place can help ensure your summer renewal season is your agency’s best one yet.

Ready to learn how AgencyBloc’s solutions can help your agency streamline summer renewals?

Take a tour of AgencyBloc and watch our 5-minute overview video to see inside AgencyBloc and Quote+.

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Posted by Allison Babberl on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 in Policy Renewal

  1. client retention
  2. data management
  3. open enrollment
  4. quoting

About The Author

Allison Babberl

Allison is the Content Lead at AgencyBloc. She manages the creation and schedule of all educational content for our BlocTalk and Member communities. Favorite quote: “Conversation is the bedrock of relationships. Without it, our relationships are devoid of substance.” -Maribeth Ku ... read more