Eastbridge Report Redefines Benefits Business

August 31, 2004

According to a new report released by Avon, Conn.-based Eastbridge Consulting Group, the benefits world is changing.

Employers have been juggling the demands (and inconvenience) of three different enrollment and servicing systems-employer-paid, voluntary, and retirement products-for years. At the same time, employers have become increasingly aggressive in managing benefit costs. And the growing complexity has increased the need for employers to provide meaningful, personalized advice to their employees.

In the near future, employers will begin demanding that carriers change their business practices to offer greater convenience and better service. Employers will demand that the various systems combine and become more efficient while offering greater support and assistance.

As employers make their new demands, carriers will have no choice but to comply. They will need to develop new products, more efficient processes, and better advice models. Brokers will be (and are already) changing. Those that anticipate these changes will have a great advantage in the marketplace.

The objective of Eastbridge Consulting Group’s last spotlight report, “The 21st Century Employer-Redefining the Benefits Business,” is to help carriers anticipate and plan for these changes.

Some of the findings of the study include:

—Employers view benefits administration as a hassle.
—Today’s benefit managers are also concerned with employee communications (which includes enrollment).
—Compliance with government regulations (HIPPA, COBRA, etc.) is another headache plan administrators face.
—Self-enrollment (after a paper-based communications process) is the most dominant enrollment method even though plan administrators prefer other methods.
—Three-quarters of plan administrators said that employees would value an annual benefits statement.
—Plan administrators would like to work with fewer carriers and for carriers to be more available and responsive.

The report is available for purchase for $2,500. For more information about the report, including a table of contents, go to the company’s Web site, http://www.eastbridge.com/catalog/spotlight21stcentury.htm.

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