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Artemis Health recently conducted original research on what employee benefits leaders really want from their partnerships with brokers, consultants, and other partners in the benefits industry. In this series of blog posts, we will recap what we found in the research study, including what benefits leaders told us about their goals, motivations, and challenges. In each part, we will showcase a selection from our larger research paper, which you can find here.
About the research:
The very nature of employee benefits is changing dramatically — and not least for consultants and brokers. Group plans are becoming more complex. Expectations are rising from employers and employees. And the need for better health, greater productivity, and more favorable financial outcomes are more important than ever. To give consultants and brokers a helping hand in meeting these needs, Artemis Health sought insight into the perspectives of 300 HR and benefits leaders at enterprise organizations across the U.S. We focused on organizations with 5000+ employees across all industries.
Benefits leaders need fast, easy access to meaningful insights. Their organization has lofty goals, and their employees have complex needs. How can consultants and brokers best work alongside and support them in overcoming these challenges? How exactly do benefits leaders view them and expect them to provide value?
The good news is that, as mentioned in our introduction, 88% of benefits leaders show a somewhat to extremely high degree of trust in consultants and brokers, with over half of benefits leaders reporting a high or extremely high amount of trust.
Even more encouraging, those who feel their organization’s benefits are ahead of the curve are much more likely (66%) than those falling behind (53%) or keeping up (47%) to have high or extremely high trust in their consultant or broker. This is a huge opportunity for consultants and brokers — benefits leaders see your opinions and services as trustworthy and valuable. To learn how you can capitalize on this and deliver even more value for them, let’s see what benefits leaders expect from their partnerships.
Benefits leaders, and especially those who feel they’re ahead of the curve, place a lot of value in their healthcare and benefits data and see it as crucial to delivering an innovative program that fits their employees’ needs. So, we wanted to drill into this and find out exactly how they see it playing a role in their partnerships with consultants and brokers.
When asked what would be most important to a strong partnership with a broker or consultant, respondents most often said getting better insights from benefits data, getting objective benefits data insights, and getting data-driven insights into larger industry trends.
Benefits leaders rely on their consultants and brokers for a third-party perspective outside of their carrier reports. While benefits leaders feel their internal teams are equipped to analyze their data, they still believe external advisors could help them derive better insights — and see it as important for strong partnership.
“Making decisions is so much easier when benefits leaders have solid, trustworthy data behind it. Confidence is key, because they have to make a case for whatever they want to put in place. A data warehouse is great, but having a person there who can interpret it and distill the main takeaways is crucial. That’s what really gives them the confidence they need.”
— Consultant, HR consulting firm
There are many ways consultants and brokers can improve their services to help clients with their benefits data, such as adding data partnerships into their contract value, initiating data analyses on hot topics, or partnering with point solution vendors to brainstorm plan design adjustments.
With the number of data sources and the complexity of business today, healthcare analytics solutions are the only way to deliver on the depth, objectivity, breadth, and accessibility benefits leaders require to make good decisions with their benefits data. Consultants and brokers can collaborate with clients on benefits analytics and dive deep within their clients’ data warehouse, delivering reports in hours rather than weeks. This give benefits leaders a holistic view of their benefits programs and how they can improve. This will boost the trust that benefits leaders place in their advisors and allow consultants and brokers to drive more value.
One question many consultants and brokers have is how benefits leaders expect them to use a benefits analytics solution. Almost all benefits leaders expect to use benefits analytics in conjunction with their consultants and brokers. Only 9% said the consultant or broker would lead the use of the tool completely.
In terms of tools and resources, the majority of respondents say they use benefits data warehouses and have partnerships with consultants and brokers. But given the resources they rely upon, it’s clear these solutions fall short of what they need today. When asked about which factors are most important when choosing a benefits data analytics solution, benefits leaders report that data accuracy, fast answers, and integrating multiple data sources are most important.
“There’s an opportunity for consultants and brokers here to pivot and use an analytics tool to get that data faster. With a data analytics tool, we can look at your client’s programs holistically and see your program performance overall using a tool and pulling data in a more real-time manner. That fast access is definitely the underlying component to having that sophisticated benefits program.”
— Consultant, HR consulting firm
While partnering with consultants and brokers is less important at face value, these findings again line up with themes we’ve seen throughout our report: Benefits leaders need accuracy, speed, and access.
Partnership alone is not enough; the real value consultants and brokers can deliver is in helping benefits leaders achieve accurate, fast insights from all of their data.
Consultants and brokers have a huge opportunity to get their clients ahead of the curve with better, faster insights and access to their data.
The consultants and brokers who will find success in this new world of complexity, competition, and changing expectations will be the ones who can give their clients the tools they believe are necessary for them to step into the future. Counsel and advice alone won’t be enough. Consultants and brokers have a huge opportunity to get their clients ahead of the curve with better, faster insights and access to their data.
Remember, a key difference between those merely keeping up with industry standards and those ahead of the curve is whether they rely on data analytics technology. Benefits leaders understand their important responsibility to push their businesses forward with access to the right kind of insights. They expect consultants and brokers to provide the kind of deep, relevant, and timely insights that only a dedicated analytics platform can bring.
Artemis Health is the forward-thinking data solution to help advisors and employers innovate. We understand the unique challenges of benefits leaders and believe consultants and brokers are key to helping them reach their goals. If you’d like to learn more about this research, contact us below. We’d love to explore how we can work together to deliver the future of benefits to your clients.
Want to learn more about this research study? Get the full report here.