How to Switch Employee Benefits Brokers (It’s Easier Than You Think)
Key Points about changing employee benefits brokers:
- There are a lot of myths about switching employee benefits brokers, but the process is fairly straightforward.
- If you want to switch, submit a Broker of Record (BOR) form or other documentation requesting the change to your insurance carriers. They’ll take care of the rest.
- You can submit this form whenever you want. It won’t affect your current carriers or plans.
It’s too time-consuming. I’ll have to change insurance carriers. I can’t hire anyone until the new year begins.
If any of these thoughts are preventing you from switching employee benefits brokers, you might want to reconsider. In truth, switching brokers is a relatively simple process. You only need one form, your benefits won’t change, and you can make the switch at any time. The whole process only takes a few minutes and it’s a small investment that can save you money down the road.
Myth: Switching employee benefits brokers is complicated.
Switching brokers sounds like a complex, time-consuming process with piles of paperwork involved. In reality, it only requires a single form: a Broker of Record (BOR) form. This form tells your insurance carriers that you’re partnering with a new broker. It asks for basic information like your new broker’s contact information, your insurance policy number, and your address. You can use one of the many templated BOR forms, but any document that includes the necessary information and is signed by the proper individual at your company can function as a BOR form.
While you could easily write this letter yourself, some brokers will do it for you. You’ll just need to sign it. If your new broker doesn’t offer to do this, you’ll need to write or fill out the form yourself and send it to each of your carriers to finalize the switch.
A template BOR form with blank text fields can be found here.
Myth: I’ll have to change my carriers or my medical, dental, vision, or other benefit plans.
Submitting a BOR form to your insurance carrier does not change your benefits or revoke your service with that carrier. It simply removes the current broker from your account and gives your new broker the power to manage your benefits and represent your organization. Once your carrier receives the BOR form, they’ll let your new broker manage your plans, negotiate costs, and advise you on benefits decisions.
Your employees shouldn’t experience any disruptions when your new broker takes over. However, if you want to change plans or carriers, your broker can (and should) negotiate new rates when the renewal process begins. When you make a change like this, your broker will help your employees transition from one plan or carrier to the next.
Myth: I have to wait until a particular time of the year to change brokers.
Submitting a BOR form doesn’t affect your current benefits or carriers, so you can switch brokers at any time. You don’t need to wait for the start of a new year or a certain period in the renewal process; you can begin working with a new broker as soon as you’re ready.
While your new broker won’t be able to negotiate cheaper rates until the renewal process, they can start managing your benefits and understanding your organization in the meantime. Then, when the renewal period begins, they’ll be prepared to guide you to the best decision.
Myth: I can switch employee benefits brokers even if I work with a PEO.
Switching brokers is a relatively easy process, but there are exceptions. If you work with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), for example, the process will entail more than a BOR form. Because your PEO is responsible for your human resources management (which includes employee benefits), your PEO determines what carriers, benefits, and brokers you have.
If you want to switch any of these things, you’ll have to leave your PEO. By doing this, you’ll gain control of your benefits and broker decisions, but you’ll also become responsible for your taxes, payroll, and any other services your PEO manages. If you decide to switch brokers, make sure you’re prepared to handle the rest of these tasks (or consider using an HRIS).
Myth: If I want to change brokers, I should have an important reason for doing so.
You may want to switch employee benefits brokers for any number of reasons. Maybe your current broker doesn’t offer all of the services you need or they never answer their phone. Maybe you just don’t have a strong rapport with them. When switching brokers is as easy as it is, you don’t need an earth-shattering reason. Wanting the best broker for your organization is enough.
How to Select an Employee Benefits Broker
While the process of switching brokers may not be complicated, selecting a new broker to work with can be involved. After all, you want to find someone who meets your needs so you don’t have to switch brokers frequently. To choose one that’s right for your business, consider:
- Certifications – Make sure any broker you consider has the proper licenses and certifications.
- Knowledge & Experience – A top-notch broker will be familiar with the latest legislation and marketplace trends. Ideally, your broker should also specialize in your organizational size range and geographic location. Look for brokers familiar with the plans you need, whether it’s medical, dental, vision, life, disability, retirement, or something else.
- Employee Support – Open enrollment is a busy time of the year. Try to find a benefits broker who can answer employee questions, assist with claims, and offer advice during open enrollment.
For more information about selecting a broker, check out our blog 8 Tips for Hiring a First-Rate Employee Benefits Broker.
Making Your HRIS Provider Your Broker
If you don’t know where to begin, consider making your HRIS provider your benefits broker (if they offer this service). You’ll get benefits expertise and quality plans combined with the streamlined experience of your HRIS.
At Sentric, our licensed brokers will seamlessly transition you from your previous broker. We’ll help you educate your employees about any changes while seeking competitive rates and plans for both you and your employees. To learn more about how we manage benefits on SentricHR, speak to one of our certified brokers today!