EMPLOYEE BENEFITS BROKERAGE FIRMS: WHAT TO EXPECT

If you're looking for a new benefits package for your employees but don't know where to start, a good quality employee benefits brokerage firm might be just what you've been seeking. Such firms aim to deliver leading-edge benefit solutions to meet the ever-changing needs of employers and employees.

If you work with an experienced and reputable benefits broker, you can benefit from strong relationships the broker has built with health care and insurance companies over the years, which enables them to deliver highly competitive services and cost-effective financial arrangements. You may even establish a relationship with the broker that launches into an ongoing arrangement.

At HCM Benefits, Inc., one of the largest full-service brokerage firms in the United States, the firm views itself as an extension of its clients' human resource and finance departments. HCM looks at all pertinent areas of their clients' operations, evaluates options, recommends the best possible course of action - and, perhaps most importantly, plays a proactive, hands-on role in effecting positive results. Quality employee benefits brokerage firms such as HCM are staffed by executives who participate on many professional and legislative advisory boards, positioning their companies at the leading technical edge of the industry. The best firms will also conduct ongoing research in risk reduction, benefit design, cost containment, and other issues affecting employers. As a result, such firms' clients are the first to learn about the latest developments and innovations in group benefits.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

When selecting your employee benefits brokerage firm, it is important that you check to see that the firms you are reviewing can truly serve the needs of you and your employees. Maybe you've had a long relationship with a firm but are unhappy with the services they have provided. There are several things to look for when shopping for a good broker or evaluating your current firm.

Does the firm in question provide objective counsel in the design, funding, and administration of group benefit plans? Do they negotiate effectively on your behalf with health care providers, insurance carriers, and administrative service companies.

Here is a list of some of the things to look for. The best brokerage firms will:

? Comprehensively design and implement group benefit plans

? Deliver in-depth financial analysis and management

? Evaluate employee satisfaction and the competitiveness of your benefit plans

? Provide employee communications services and enrollment support

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