What is an employee benefits broker?
An employee benefits broker acts similarly to an insurance broker. They specialise in products that can form part of your employee benefits package and help you to choose the right employee benefits based on the needs of your business. Employee benefits brokers will also help you compare quotes to get the best value for your budget.
An employee benefits broker's process will be familiar if you've ever worked with a general insurance broker. However, whilst you might contact a broker looking for advice on specific services, a benefits broker will take a more holistic approach.
An employee benefits broker will review various elements to understand your business, your employees' needs and any employee benefits you already offer. They'll then provide advice about suitable products, obtain quotes and help you to review them.
They can also support you in reviewing your insurance policies and benefits at the renewal stage. Some also offer support services such as claims support and administering your scheme.
Your employee benefits package can include anything from insurance coverage to perks such as flexible working or free food. An employee benefits broker can help you to source cost-effective insurance. These can include all kinds of group insurance to cover your whole workforce.
Group health insurance
Private medical insurance is a highly valued employee benefit that gives your employees quick access to private healthcare, so they don't have to join an NHS waiting list. You can take out health insurance and pay the premiums through your company or offer it as a voluntary scheme where employees pay the premiums themselves.
Your employee benefits broker can offer advice on the right level of coverage and underwriting and help you compare quotes.
Income protection insurance gives your employees a regular monthly payout equivalent to a percentage of their usual salary when they can't work due to ill health or injury. This can supplement or replace sick pay.
You can also offer critical illness cover, which pays a lump sum when an employee is diagnosed with a serious illness.
Group life cover provides a death-in-service benefit that pays an employee's family a lump sum if they die during their employment with you. The payout is typically a multiple of the employee's salary.
Employee benefits brokers can offer advice on a suitable percentage and help you compare quotes to get the best policy for your budget.
A good employee benefits broker must get to know your business to ensure you include the best possible benefits in your package. There are several different elements that you can expect them to consider.
The benefits that your employees will value
Specialist employee benefits brokers have in-depth knowledge of the UK insurance market and the benefits employees value most. An employee benefits package that offers financial security, a good work-life balance, and that helps to support employee wellbeing will likely help you to attract new talent and retain your existing staff.
Some brokerage services may go further and ask for information about employee demographics or recommend that you survey your workforce to assess what benefits may be needed. This knowledge helps them to compare and evaluate insurance products to advise you on the most suitable one for your team.
Your legal obligations
All employers have a duty of care towards their staff. An employee benefits broker can offer advice that helps you to go above and beyond minimum requirements. For example, health insurance can provide benefits and services that help employees improve their health and wellbeing.
However, there may be other obligations that your broker needs to understand.
Sometimes, an employee benefit is more than a 'nice to have' option. Death in service benefits and sick pay can all form part of an employee's contract. Therefore, it's vital a broker understands what those entitlements are.
They may also suggest alternative methods to meet those requirements that help you save money. For example, if contracts include generous sick pay, an income protection policy could be a more cost-effective option.
Changes to the business
Understanding what will happen in the event of a change in how your business is managed or structured helps a new broker understand the risks your business may face and what protection is needed.
This could include ensuring you have appropriate protection in place if the business is sold or restructured.
Your key person strategy
Many businesses have key people that are central to their success, such as an expert in their field or a director whose contacts are a primary source of new business. By understanding which individuals fill an essential role, your broker can offer bespoke advice. For example, they could recommend insurance to cover their role in the event of an absence or medical insurance to support them in returning to work after illness or injury.
Employee benefits brokers get to know your business and use their industry knowledge to help you provide and select the right employee benefits. But, of course, these aren't the only benefits. Here are some advantages you'll get from working with a benefits broker.
An independent broker has access to policies from across the UK insurance market. This helps ensure you get the best available coverage for a reasonable price. However, brokerage services build relationships with insurers, which means they can often offer deals that won't be available if you contact insurance companies directly.
Putting together an employee benefits package and obtaining quotes without a broker will likely fall to your HR teams. Contacting insurers to get quotes can be time-consuming, particularly if they need to follow up to chase quotes or ask questions.
A broker understands the common questions that are likely to arise and will gather the relevant information from you when you first speak. They'll also be able to liaise with insurers on your behalf, saving you time and giving you a single point of contact.
Help with comparing quotes
Insurance policies use technical language, with terms not widely understood outside the industry. Brokers can help you compare quotes and understand the difference between one policy and another and the potential impact of those differences.
They'll help you to make an informed choice when choosing a policy.
Assistance with insurance renewals
Regularly reviewing your insurance coverage ensures you get the best coverage. A good broker will review for you, potentially helping you to get better coverage or a reduced premium.
Other potential benefits
Other potential benefits vary between brokers. Some can help promote employee benefits and assist you with staff enrolment. They may also offer assistance with claims, particularly if they're complex.
Choosing the right employee benefits broker is like hiring a new staff member. You must ensure they will be a good fit for your business. You can take several steps to help you compare and assess different brokers.
Ask whether they're independent
An independent broker can offer advice on insurance products from across the market. However, some advisers are tied to a limited number of insurance companies which means your choice will be narrower.
Are they easy to contact?
A good broker can offer support when you need it. However, when you contact them to discuss their services or ask questions, consider whether they return your call or respond to emails promptly.
Ask for recommendations and read reviews
A recommendation from a business owner you know and trust can be worth its weight in gold. They can let you know about good customer service (or the opposite) and the overall claims experience. This can give you a feel for whether their approach will suit you.
Online reviews from verified sources also offer helpful insight. It's generally a good sign if a broker displays links to independent reviews prominently on their website.
Gather information about staff
Brokers typically have a team of advisers. It can be helpful to understand who you'll be working with and what expertise and experience they have. We feature details of our brokers on our website so you can see their credentials for yourself.
Do they listen to you?
Ask yourself whether a broker makes an effort to understand your business needs. A good understanding of your business is essential for a broker to offer expert advice. If you feel they're not listening, they aren't the broker for you.
Get in touch
Globacare offers tailored advice to help your business offer employee benefits that your staff will value. Contact us for a comparison quote.
Frequently asked questions
What are the advantages of working with an employee benefits broker?
A broker will get to know your business and offer expert advice on the best employee benefits. They can also save you money and time, help you compare quotes and assist with renewals.
How do brokers get paid?
Many brokers work on commission, so their services won't cost you a penny. However, it is worth checking as some brokers charge a flat fee which can be substantial.
What insurance policies can employee benefits brokers help with?
Your broker can help you with private medical insurance, death-in-service benefits, income protection and critical illness coverage.