Much like the job market, the current employee benefits market is constantly undergoing changes and seeing new trends emerge.
Often, these shifts result in employers and benefits brokers having to adjust their strategies in order to get the most value from their benefit offerings.
And who would know better about the current state of employee benefits than benefit brokers themselves? That’s why Sontiq started their Benefit Broker Survey last year to see what these professionals think about the current state of employee benefits.
Recently, the second annual report – the 2019 Benefit Broker Survey – was released and had some very interesting data about benefit trends.
THE 2019 BENEFIT BROKER SURVEY
The Sontiq survey was taken by 125 employee benefit advisors in the United States who work with companies of all sizes.
First, brokers were asked about the major concerns employers have mentioned the most over the past 12 months. Here are the top 3 results:
- Rising healthcare costs – 78%
- Recruiting and retaining employees – 58%
- Offering competitive benefit packages – 58%
The latter two can impact one another, as a modern benefit plan can help attract job seekers while keeping current employees happy and lowering the chances of them leaving for a new position.
WHICH BENEFITS DO EMPLOYER REQUEST THE MOST?
Next, the report goes into the employee benefits that are most requested by employers and then which benefits are actually offered.
The top 4 most requested benefits were: wellness programs (65%), telemedicine (64%), identity theft protection (53%), and financial counseling (48%).
Broken down further, you can see how in-demand each of these benefits are:
- Wellness programs – regularly requested (32%); high-demand (26%); extremely high-demand (7%)
- Telemedicine – regularly requested (32%); high-demand (27%); extremely high-demand (5%)
- Identity theft protection – regularly requested (33%); high-demand (14%); extremely high-demand (5%)
- Financial counseling – regularly requested (30%); high-demand (12%); extremely high-demand (6%)
Brokers were then asked to name the factors that their clients consider the most when selecting benefits for their plans. Value to employees (54%) was the number one response, with price per employee (53%) and competitiveness with other companies (32%) making up the top 3 responses.
IDENTITY THEFT BENEFITS AND CYBERSECURITY
The last parts of the survey explore the growth of identity theft protection benefits and how well employers feel about cybersecurity.
Brokers were asked how frequently they were asked by clients to recommend or evaluate an identity theft protection vendor. 64% said they are regularly requested to do so, compared to 36% that said they rarely get requests.
Compared to the 2018 survey, demand for identity theft protection benefits has increased by 13%. Additionally, 55% of brokers said they have an ID theft protection vendor they recommend to their clients.
Cybersecurity has been a trending topic in recent years, especially for smaller employers. But are brokers prepared to assist a client if they experience a data security incident?
- Yes – 50%
- No – 13%
- Not sure – 37%
This represents an area where brokers can improve to boost their value as a trusted advisor, as most smaller businesses will need significant assistance if a data breach occurs.
BROKERS CONTINUE TO PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES
With the employee benefits market continuously undergoing changes, the role of benefit brokers is only going to grow in importance.
Many business owners see their broker as a trusted advisor who can help in many different ways and who is critical to business success.
Don’t expect this to change as new employee benefit trends continue to emerge!
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