One of the primary functions of an independent insurance agency is to provide competitive insurance quotes and policies to its customers. But what about insurance benefits and other benefits to the employees of the insurance agency? This article is an example of how we, Desert Mountain Insurance Services, got creative with regards to employee benefits.
As with any business, employee benefits are an integral component to attracting and retaining quality talent. An insurance agency is faced with the same challenges such as the increase cost for health insurance, cost of dental insurance, cost of vision insurance, should disability insurance be provided, and what other benefits are available for my business? While Desert Mountain Insurance has provided the typical insurance products to its employees, we also provided employees with an on-site daycare for the pre-school aged children of our employees.
On-Site Daycare as an Employee Benefit
"I never thought we'd be running a non-profit organization," began Michelin Abrahamsen, "but that's what non-profits do. They work for the greater good." Ms. Abrahamsen, President of Desert Mountain Insurance Services (DMIS) in Scottsdale, was referring to the on-site daycare center she offers for employees.
It all started when her own children were small. "We didn't want to place them in a facility or hire someone to care for them in our home. So, we organized a couple of rooms in our building away from the work area and hired a nanny to care for them here. Knowing my children were close by eased all of my worries and enabled me to focus on work. I was able to have lunch with my children every day, I didn't miss any milestone moments, and because my colleagues supported having them there, the children gained an extended family."
That family would grow.
Getting Creative with Employee Benefits
The Abrahamsen children eventually went off to school and the DMIS daycare facility lay empty. When a staff member announced her pregnancy, Ms. Abrahamsen realized she had a new employee benefit to offer. "I thought 'why not... we'll just hire a nanny again.' Little did I know that a year later, we would have five children and two nannies!"
Accept and Adapt to Change
The daycare facility has since closed its doors due to a shift in the needs of its employees and the agency has evolved to meet those needs. So, what insurance products and employee benefits are leading insurance agencies providing? What does a specialist in the insurance industry consider when purchasing insurance benefits for itself?
Why work with an Independent Insurance Agent?
As an independent insurance agency, we not only want to provide competitive insurance quotes to our customers, but we want to provide competitive insurance quotes and premiums to benefit our employees. But it is not only about premium. It is about what employee benefits truly benefit the employee. And, how can we provide a well-rounded portfolio of products and options to our employees and also to our customers.
Here is a highlight of a few of the items we consider regarding employee benefits:
Some insurance companies will pair products together and that pairing may provide the most competitive insurance quotes. However, some provide stand-alone policies while also keeping competitive insurance premiums. It is the agent’s responsibility to understand the different products and how to best mix and match benefits for the most comprehensive and competitive insurance quotes and policies.
Most group insurance products offer a suite of options. It is important to consider voluntary, employer paid, 50/50; split or other percentage paid options in order to determine the most competitive insurance quotes for our agency and our customers. With medical insurance the premiums must be 50% employer paid, however with other benefits the employer can select any percentage amount to contribute to the employee’s benefits.
Unique Options For Employee Benefits
While for a time period, Desert Mountain Insurance was able to provide a unique option for employee benefits, some employers may decide that it is just not feasible to incorporate a daycare into their business options. It too may not be feasible to add a game room or workout room. But ancillary options such as accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity plans are becoming more attractive to individuals and groups. This is a worthwhile solution to consider since deductibles are increasing for both individuals and families.
In summary, an insurance agent has an obligation to provide reasonable solutions for itself as well as its customer. Ask your agent how they assess their own needs and what solutions have they incorporated into its business. You may be surprised to hear a new idea and gain an opportunity to increase the benefits available to your employees.
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