When It Comes To Benefits Administration, Service Is Everything

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Hello everyone, today I wanted to put together a quick blog that spoke about one of the biggest differentiating factors between us and most of the other benefit providers in the marketplace, which is our approach to benefits administration. 

Anyone who knows us and who has worked with us for a while can tell you, maybe even to our detriment, that we are not a sales-focused organization. Our focus is service. Long story short that goes back to my time in the Marine Corps, where I was in a support role servicing and supporting others. It also comes from when I first started in HR as a generalist who supported a large company and its employees. Then I spent time at a few agencies and benefits providers where I once again was in service roles supporting either sales offices, internal staff, or our HR clients directly. All my time and prior roles leading up to the start of Holloway Benefit Concepts back in 2011 were rooted in service, so to this day, we take that very seriously, and it continues to be a main priority of ours.

Everyone on our staff is primarily in a client-facing service role in one-way or another. We, of course, also have some people who help with the day-to-day operations of our business which we all know we have to have, but every single person, even myself, all have responsibilities that are client-facing and that are simply us taking care of our clients and trying to reduce as much of the admin and HR burden as possible when trying to manage a benefits program.

We have always helped our clients with the day-to-day admin of their programs from the start. Early on, that meant collecting enrollment forms and documents in person and then either keying the information into a website or submitting it to an insurance provider so they can do it themselves. Today that has expanded with our partnership with the Ease enrollment platform, but even with Ease, some things like employee additions and terminations have to get processed because not all insurance companies are directly connected to that system. In time, we should see more and more benefit providers getting tied in. However, in today’s environment, we still go in and process additions and updates for our clients once they notify us someone has terminated or a new enrollment gets processed at the employee level in the enrollment platform. Regardless of the action taken, anything we process, we always save the documentation from the insurance or benefits provider and then provide it back to the employer’s point of contact, so they have a record of the update just like we do. From our standpoint, this can be the most time-consuming thing for a benefits administrator to do, so that is why we take that on for any clients that prefer we run with that on their behalf, which is the basis of our service model and commitment to our clients. This is also super important information to have as a history for audit purposes, but at the regulatory level and in the event of an insurance company audit, which can happen occasionally.

We do not sell a policy and then disappear, never to be seen again until renewal, but we do see and hear about this approach all the time. We run things quite the opposite at HBC. For our clients who have us setting up an enrollment website for them through Ease or who have us helping with eligibility regularly, we are talking to them several times a month, which we enjoy! Our goal is to be an extension of your company and be that outsourced benefits admin department that you simply don’t have internally and probably don’t need. Still, it’s also something you shouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars in fees to cover. For most of our clients, we help fill some of those voids through our benefits admin services and/or by bringing our technology partners (Ease, Mineral & FormFire) to the table on an as needed basis.

Best of all, in my opinion, and yes, I am of course biased, our clients are not paying hourly consulting rates or an increased per employee per month fee to have these services available to them. We help with the day-to-day admin and provide our eligibility processing services at no cost to our clients. 

Most of what we see out in the marketplace is very different. Payroll companies will charge a per employee per month fee just to get an HR service made available, or they will charge another per employee per month fee to get the privilege to use their online enrollment system, which oftentimes puts you at the mercy of the vendor they are bringing to the table and their 800 #s for service, which we have seen go horribly wrong. 

I’m not going to mention any names, but we have seen some clients who had their enrollments and benefits tied in with payroll. It went so wrong that employees were not being given opportunities to enroll in benefits they were eligible for. Even worse, these systems were not set up correctly, so employees who were NOT eligible for benefits were being enrolled. All the while, this client was paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for these “services.” 

We’ve also seen instances where a lot of the larger regional and national agencies simply won’t help with the day to day admin at all, or even worse, they see a small business as one that doesn’t have enough of an earnings opportunity so that they won’t talk to you at all.

All that said, for the last 20 years since I got out of the Marine Corps, I have been around entrepreneurs and small businesses the entire time. I eventually got the bug-like most do after getting burned out with big business politics and shenanigans, which led me to create HBC and where we are today. 

My concern is not how big a company is or how much money we can drive in revenue by helping them, and we certainly will not tell a business we can’t help them because they won’t generate enough insurance revenue for us. We help startups pretty regularly and enjoy the education piece tied into launching an initial benefits program. Our goal and what makes us happy? Helping good people and good employers provide their employees with the best possible benefit solutions. That’s it. And guess what, to me, it all starts with service.

As always, if you have questions about benefits programs, group insurance or just want to pick our brains, please do not hesitate to contact us! We can be reached by phone at +1-214-329-0097 or by email at info@hollowaybenefitconcepts.com

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