Tuesday, October 20, 2015

5 Reasons a Face-to-Face Enrollment is Needed

The biggest challenge I face in helping your employees is negotiating the access I need with you. If I can't work out a plan to see your employees, I can't present a guaranteed issue offer to them. Below, I've summarized five specific reasons why I need to meet with your employees in a face-to-face enrollment. This is to help you get a better understanding of why it's necessary so that you'll grant me the access I need.

The problem is that the insurance company will only let me make that offer when I can arrange to meet with your employees. If I can't get that arranged then I can't give employees guaranteed issue.

The biggest losers in that situation are the employees who have medical problems.

So in this article, I wanted to talk about why I need to see your employees and the benefits the employer gets when they allow me to do a face-to-face enrollment.

With all of the talk that's going on today about insurance exchanges and electronic enrollments, it appears as if letting computers do all of the enrollment work is the ideal way to help your employees. The push in this direction is what the big players in the industry will have you believe is the right course to take. Yet, after 20 years of enrollments, I still specialize in meeting with employees in a face-to-face enrollment for all my programs because it's the right way to help your employees and it's also the right thing to do.

My experience in personally walking thousands of employees through the process I will walk you through below tells me that eventually, if the big players have their way, knowing how to effectively do what I do will fast become a lost art. The real losers in that battle though, will ultimately be your employees and the quality of the offers they receive from insurance companies.

In this article, I wanted to share my reasons for not abandoning the face-to-face enrollment and then spend some time talking about the right approach for how to conduct a face-to-face enrollment - the right way.

First, let's talk about the reasons why face to face enrollments are so important to your employees.

  • I can get the best possible underwriting offer When I take a proposal to an insurance company, the first thing that insurance company wants to know from me is what kind of enrollment it's going to be. How I answer that question determines how good the offer I'll get back is going to be. If I tell them that it's an email campaign, self-elected computer enrollment, some insurance companies just aren't even interested. Those that are, will be very conservative in the offers they'll make. However, if I can assure the carrier that the offer they put on the table will indeed be communicated and explained to the employees, the offer I will get back will be very good. Because of that, to get the best possible offers and underwriting concessions from the insurance company, it's in everyone's best interest to conduct a face-to-face enrollment.
  • Employees with medical problems need the coverage I can't tell you how often I've been thanked by employees I've helped obtain insurance that just couldn't get coverage anywhere else. Those employees that are uninsurable are truly thankful to be able to enroll in lifetime coverage that no one can take away from them and will gladly pay 100 percent of the premiums. The only reason that employees who have medical problems are able to get all the medical and other requirements waived and get covered was because of my commitment to doing a well communicated face-to-face enrollment to all employees.
  • Employees don't have agents that help them anymore Seeing people face to face is expensive. Years ago, lots of life insurance was purchased at the kitchen table. But now, many agents don't even call on families anymore because they can't afford to. If you don't have a sizable income or estate, it's unlikely you'll even hear from an agent - ever. Therefore, many employees don't ever see any agent and by extension get no insurance advice.
  • Employees want and need the education One of the most common phrases I hear after I meet with an employee is that they didn't know they could do what I told them they could do and they were happy to learn exactly how the underwriting offer worked to their advantage. In fact, because I've talked to so many people over the years who were so very grateful that I explained things to them, it's the main thing that drives me to continue to stress the importance of a face-to-face enrollment just so they don't miss out.
  • Employees need the focus Everyone is so busy. People work shifts. Kids are in so many events. After work, people are exhausted, many employees do what I do and that's just take a nap. Making time to focus on what's available helps those employees tremendously.
IMPORTANT CONCEPT: Of all of those reasons I've listed above, getting the very best possible underwriting offer from the insurance company is the single most important benefit for conducting a face-to-face enrollment.
Now that you have some background about why I'm so committed to my process, it's time to walk you through the actual steps I take to get it done as easily and smoothly as possible.

I personally have four objectives when I conduct an enrollment. Those are:

  1. Do the enrollment for you My first objective is to do all of enrollment work for you. Many agents expect you to enroll your employees for them and do all of the legwork of the enrollment for them. I see it the exact opposite way. It's my job to do the enrollment. Obviously, I need your support but it's up to me to do the work at hand. After all, that's what you hired me to do.
  2. Make sure each employee at least hears the offer My second objective is to walk each employee through the offer so they at least know what the offer is that is available to them and that they decide what they want to do to satisfy the underwriting requirements.
  3. Complete the enrollment quietly My third objective is to do the enrollment in such a way that if I didn't report in as to what is happening, you wouldn't even know I was even there.
  4. No complaints My final objective is complete my enrollment with no complaints.

With those objectives in mind, let's go through my four steps to conducting a good face-to-face enrollment:

  1. STEP #1: Meet with department heads The first step is to meet with each department head individually to explain the reasons for the enrollment, exactly what the underwriting requirements are and then to develop a plan that works best for everyone involved to help move their employees through the educational process.
  2. STEP #2: Personalized education meetings The second step is to meet with the employees to explain what the underwriting offer is and exactly how it works.
  3. STEP #3: Give employees time to review the offer on their own The third step is to let employees take the information home to review it, discuss it with their families and decide on their own if it makes sense for them. This is the secret sauce to making a face-to-face enrollment go smoothly. Once employees realize that you are indeed there to educate and facilitate a process, and not worried about whether they sign up or not, only that they understand the offer, everyone goes through the process without a hitch.
  4. STEP #4: Follow-Up The final step is to follow-up with each employee, answer any questions they may have and to ask them if they want to sign up or not.

This is the basic frame-work I follow for every enrollment I do.
TESTIMONIALS: If you want to read some comments from people who worked for employers I've actually worked with and taken through this process, you can read their comments on this page.
Now you know why I'm committed to meeting with employees face to face, what my objectives are each time I do an enrollment and an overview of the key steps I take to complete my work effectively.

As always, if you are an employer group or broker, I am interested in working with you. Feel free to leave your questions below or to contact me.

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Michael is a champion of guaranteed issue for employees in the workplace. He's been an insurance agent since 1992 and has worked with thousands of employees.