Plan Sponsors’ RFPs Reveal What They Seek in Benefit Providers

March 14, 2024
Plan sponsors have definite criteria they want met when issuing a RFP

Insights from Plan Sponsors: What They Seek in Benefit Providers

Today’s employee benefit plan sponsors have definite criteria they want met when issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP). Employee benefit providers should take note of these criteria when responding to an RFP, particularly those factors which matter most to plan sponsors. These include:

  • Technology-Driven – Plan sponsors expect their benefit providers to be leveraging technology that supports both the organization’s needs and those of its employees/members. They value the role that digital technology has in driving efficiency, cost-effectiveness, data accuracy, data analytics, and improved reporting and documentation. Furthermore, they understand that digital solutions such as online portals and mobile apps help their employees/members gain convenient, 24/7 access to benefit and claims information for an improved experience.
  • Employee/Member Education – Also prioritized by many plan sponsors in their RFPs is a respondent’s emphasis on providing employee benefits education and communications. This means that, in addition to offering digital tools housing product information, educational videos and FAQs, etc., the provider also offers educational webinars, onsite seminars, and onsite benefits specialists to answer employees’ questions during enrollment periods.
  • Plan Sponsor Compliance Education/Support – Another area plan sponsors evaluate is a provider’s resources for supporting their regulatory compliance. Indicating that timely communications on new regulations or amended laws pertaining to employee benefits will be routinely provided will score points with RFP decision makers. Also being able to refer the plan sponsor to an experienced third party administrator (TPA) to which they could outsource all benefits administration including regulatory compliance would be important to include in a RFP response. Regulatory compliance also now includes cybersecurity and providers should cite their own measures (i.e., multi-factor authentication, encryption, regular penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, etc.) to ensure data security and regulatory compliance. Cybersecurity, in particular, and compliance with federal and state cybersecurity regulations (e.g., the Federal Trade Commission Act, New York State Department of Financial Services amended Cybersecurity Regulations for all covered entities) which should be included in RFP responses.
  • Scalable Solutions, Responsive to Market Developments and The Organization’s Growth – Plan sponsors also want to read that the benefit provider is abreast of market trends and is continually enhancing their benefit offerings to reflect the needs of the marketplace and today’s multigenerational and gig workforce. Whether the RFP directly asks about this or not, respondents should include this as one of their value propositions.
  • High Quality Customer Service – Benefit providers should describe their customer service department in detail. Convey staff experience and qualifications, OmniChannel Contact Center technologies, and other relevant information such as key performance indicators (KPIs), regular performance benchmarking, industry awards/recognition for high quality customer service, multi-lingual capabilities, and proven processes for escalating and resolving customer inquiries.

By addressing plan sponsors’ priority criteria, employee benefit providers position themselves among the top contenders to be awarded more contracts.