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How To Handle A Tough Group Benefits Renewal?


In all honesty, the most frequent issue clients and advisors come to us asking how to handle a tough group benefits renewal from another provider. (We do like tough renewals)

We tend to meet clients and advisors at 2 points:

  • Looking to start a new plan. And have no existing plan
  • The Client or Advisor has a tough renewal to deal with. They are asking us to provide the same benefits at the previous rates, with stable premiums going forward

The Facts (almost always)

  • Renewal pain is almost always self-inflicted. Additionally, the plan selected was sold or promoted with the highest benefits at the lowest price on the spreadsheet. Likewise, creating an unrealistic expectation of what that level of benefits should cost
  • Clients don’t care how much of a discount an advisor got them last year, they are only focused on this year’s increase
  • It is not reasonable for an advisor to keep taking the same clients to the market year after year. Let alone, taking the same approach while hoping for different results. This method creates instability for advisors, clients, and staff

The Renewal Narrative

Have you been told the reason for your large rate increase is that your claims were too high? This statement is almost always false. The reality is that the quoted rates were likely too low. Initial and/or renewal discounting created an unrealistic expectation of what that level of benefits should cost. In fact, I’m repeating because this point is important!

The next step is usually to try and negotiate a discounted renewal which only defers part of the problem until the next renewal. Or, Reduce coverage. Which is not a popular option as staff view this as a reduction in their compensation  

How do you handle a tough group benefits renewal?

We have found the most successful approach is to reset and start fresh with a new plan. This will allow you to select an option your business and staff can each afford

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