1. Do you specialize in employee benefits? Or is it an adjunct to personal lines, financial services, or commercial insurance?
The team at West Coast Group Benefits specializes in employee benefits. With over 400 employer accounts in our San Diego office alone, we focus on the ability to work with you on benefit strategy, marketing, negotiation, and implementation of all coverage. We have a staff with excellent and varied benefit backgrounds, which bring a professional expertise to work with you as a business partner. We also have significant expertise in alternative health care solutions and can guide you through the advantages and risks of such approaches, if appropriate.
2. How many employer groups does your broker handle of your group size or industry?
Employers often overlook this question. It is impossible for a broker/consultant to keep up with the health insurance marketplace or maintain an expertise if he/she has only one or two groups of your size. It is also difficult to maintain an expertise with rating and underwriting issues unless your broker works regularly with your size case. This is extremely important at renewal time. He or she should also have a keen understanding of your business and risk characteristics of your particular industry.
At West Coast Group Benefits, we have the expertise. Our clients range from small groups of fewer than 25 lives to groups of several thousands of employees.
3. Does your broker have the support staff to service your account? Are they accessible and proactive?
West Coast Group Benefits prides itself on a commitment to excellent service. We have an experienced staff to do it. Take a minute to review our resumes. More importantly, meet our staff or check us out with our present clients, or any major insurance carrier. We consider our service capability as an important factor in separating us from the rest of the consultants. Just ask our clients!
4. Does your broker keep abreast of the carrier/HMO market place?
At West Coast Group Benefits, we keep abreast in a formalized way of over 130 carriers providing health, dental, vision, disability, life, and other coverages. We meet regularly with who we consider are the key players in the benefits market to keep current on their products, resources, and financial strength. We also have significant expertise in working with carriers and third party administrators on sophisticated health care approaches. Please ask us about the current strengths and weaknesses of carriers and HMO’s. We will be glad to tell you.
5. How often does your broker market your group and with what degree of expertise?
We normally recommend that a case be marketed every year to ensure that a client is getting the most competitive rates. Obviously, if there is a serious service rating or financial issue with the carrier, we keep abreast of those issues and may recommend going to market sooner than that. Our philosophy is to work with the carrier to get the best they have to offer you.
We always have groups in the marketing process so we can recommend an excellent alternative when needed. We always provide a full written report and an analysis of our marketing efforts for your review and decision.
6. Do you find that you and your staff are spending too much time on employee benefits and working with your insurance carrier?
Our job is to run that interference for you. We make sure that you are spending quality time on strategy and analysis and not on day-to-day details. We have full-time Account Managers on staff to service our employee benefits clients. We will work with your carriers on service issues and get them solved for you. This also enables us to evaluate the carriers’ strengths and weaknesses regarding service and administration.
7. If your case is experience rated (normally 250+ lives) and is eligible for cost and utilization reports, do you see them? Does your broker explain them to you and keep you updated on your experience?
At West Coast Group Benefits, we maintain case files and consider it important to track experience and utilization both for you and us. We will meet with you regularly, often on a quarterly basis, and keep you informed on trends specific to your group. This information will also be a key part of our renewal analysis.
8.Does your broker keep you abreast of legislative changes, benefit trends, and financial results specific to your carriers?
At West Coast Group Benefits we consider that part of our job and will keep you informed through bulletins, seminars, and at our regular update meetings.
9. What kind of rapport or “clout” does your consultant have with your insurance carriers? Can he/she get things done for you including exceptions on occasion? How good are your brokers’ negotiating skills at renewal time?
Because we have a large block of business, we have significant clout with the carrier community. We want to work with them in a positive and productive way, but with your interest foremost in mind. You are the customer!
We have an excellent professional reputation with the carrier community that is to your benefit as a client. At renewal time, we will negotiate the best possible renewal or move to another carrier.
10. Finally, can your consultant offer you a wide spectrum of risk management services including employee benefits, HR management pension solutions, and personal lines?
The brokers at West Coast Group Benefits have been servicing clients for over 25 years. We offer the full spectrum of risk management services. Full service to our clients has been a key to our success.