Analysis Paralysis in the Employee Benefits Marketplace
The accelerated rate of point solutions forces brokers to move fast to stay ahead of the market.
By: Steve Herman
Within the past year, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the “Great Resignation,” attracting and retaining key employees, and the sustainability of a hybrid work environment. To align with the market demand, an onslaught of point solutions has surfaced to tackle specific problems in the marketplace. As the subject matter expert on employee benefits for your clients, how do you sift through the noise to know which solution best fits your client’s needs?
As the employee benefits industry evolves, so will the employer’s priorities and the technology to support their new business demands. American technologist Ray Kurzweil predicted that in the ‘law of accelerating returns,’ advancements will feed on themselves, increasing the rate of further progress. At the rate of how fast new employee benefits solutions are hitting the market, it’s easy for clients to get caught up in analysis paralysis. Benefits consultants need to be ready for the accelerating rate of new point solutions.
As much as we might wish for an all-encompassing platform to fit your client’s needs, innovation often starts by solving one problem at a time. The telehealth industry offers many examples of an accelerated rate of new point solutions. As this industry is quickly growing, gaining an understanding of all of the offerings can help you stay ahead of your client’s needs while remaining a valuable resource. Here are just a few examples of new solutions in the telehealth industry, and these barely scratch the surface of the offerings available:
- Mental health with certified coaches
- Mental health with licensed therapists
- Financial wellness solutions
- Advocacy solutions
- Concierge cancer advocacy
The piecemeal approach to innovation provides opportunities for benefits consultants to become experts in new solution implementations, employee roll-out, engagement, communications, utilization, and demonstrating ROI. With an entire library of point solutions, brokers will start to go beyond the traditional ways to prove ROI and leverage the intangible benefits of employee benefit point solutions.
As an example of an intangible benefit, research shows that a happy and healthy workforce leads to better employee engagement, lower recidivism, and higher productivity. New point solutions, like Wheelhouse, are beginning to specialize in this level of ROI. Wheelhouse is a concierge cancer advocacy program that is an Oncomanagement platform with a mission to disrupt the way cancer is prevented and treated. For some of your clients, providing care and support for their employees and their families is the value proposition. Furthermore, getting visibility and treatment to this expensive claim demographic earlier in the disease cycle can significantly reduce an organization’s high-cost claims risk and the impact on self-funded plans.
The benefits marketplace is filled with many different types of solutions that offer the promise of happier and healthier employees. As a consultant, it’s your job to understand the marketplace to help your clients make informed decisions to avoid analysis paralysis. While many point solutions are where innovation starts before more robust solutions become available, they offer an opportunity to reduce risk to you and your client while increasing the focus on a particular area of specialization and functionality.
As stewards of the industry, it is our job to get comfortable with the speed of technology, evaluate innovation, and align it with the strategic direction of each employer we serve. Without an Amazon or Walmart – esque solution to one-stop shopping for employee benefits, it may be in the broker’s best interest to be their clients’ encyclopedia of workplace benefits.
Staying a step ahead of the market
Joining the RAD Collective is the first step in staying on top of industry trends and bringing better solutions to the market. The RAD Collective is committed to health insurance brokers and consultants. An invite-only network made up of the most forward-thinking industry professionals, we have created an environment that fosters innovation, scale, and impact for our members’ businesses through personalized resources and opportunities.