A recently released report by LIMRA and EY pointed to an evolving benefits landscape, in part driven by the pandemic. The LIMRA/EY 2022 Workforce Benefits Report presented several significant developments, including:
- The evolving role of brokers toward a more strategic one
- The heightened need for employee/member education
- The accelerating digital transformation
Brokers Offering More Strategic Services
The report noted that 2/3 of brokers expected to enhance their offerings to better reflect today’s hybrid working models and multigenerational workforce. Recognizing that younger generations, including Millennials and Generation Z, have very different ideas about benefits than older workers, brokers are seeking opportunities to support their needs. Afterall, Millennials and Gen Z comprise 40% of the U.S. workforce.
Brokers are looking to address the demand for more benefit options given the LIMRA/EY report’s finding that 70% of large employers plan to offer more benefits over the next five years. Among the new offerings expected to be added are nontraditional benefits that extend beyond core medical offerings. Driven by COVID-19 and the younger generations’ growing expectation that their employers demonstrate a genuine care for them, benefits that support better work-life balance, employee wellness, and flexible schedules will gain in importance.
With the increasing complexity of employee benefits and related regulations, brokers will also take on an expanded role in guiding plan sponsors in their navigation of this complicated maze.
A Focus on Benefits Education
The LIMRA/EY survey found that 60% of employees believe their employers do not do a good job of communicating their benefits which is paving the way for more emphasis on making sure employees understand each benefit and its role. Informative, easy to understand benefits communications programs, covering everything from the enrollment period to how to access and use their benefits, will become a top priority. Suggested are communications plans that use a multichannel approach, combining online educational tools, live and virtual seminars/webinars and printed product information.
The LIMRA/EY report noted that 8 in 10 employers believe technology will have a larger role in carrier selection over the next 5 years. With more plan sponsors looking for easy to access decision support tools, digital platforms will become more valued. Carriers that offer online access to product information, claims and other data will likely emerge as the providers of choice over those that do not offer some digital solutions.
Clearly, the ground is shifting in employee benefits and it’s important for providers and plan sponsors alike to be agile enough to perform well in the evolving landscape.