The fourth quarter is traditionally the busiest time of year for health insurance brokers who focus on the sale of group benefits. Since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law in 2010, brokers selling Individual & Family Plan (IFP) coverage have seen an increase in Q4 activity, too.
Many employers offer calendar year or near calendar year benefits. If an employer has calendar year benefits, that means coverage begins on January 1 and ends on December 31. If the employer has near calendar year benefits, coverage may be effective on the first of November or December. In all of these situations, shopping for coverage typically begins 30 or more days in advance of the coverage effective date, so between renewals and new business, the fourth quarter can be quite busy for brokers.
What can you do to make the most of your Q4 without going crazy? Word & Brown offers these suggestions:
- Start early on your renewals. Reach out to your clients in advance to get a current group census. This allows you to build a quote showing employers a comparison of their current plan versus other options in the market.
- Research your clients’ preferred providers. Ask your clients if they have specific doctors, hospitals, or prescription requirements prior to building your quote. You can research plans to ensure your clients’ preferences are part of the plans you include in your quote.
- Consider Online Enrollment (OLE). Using an OLE platform can increase group participation, speed up enrollment by helping employees more quickly compare plans and sign up, and help you and your clients track employees who haven’t yet completed an enrollment.
- Partner with a General Agency. Working with a General Agent – like Word & Brown – can ease some of the burden of Q4. We offer a wide range of back-office support services to help you quote and close more business. Our team will:
- Help you develop a renewal strategy for each of your groups.
- Review your book of business and find the most competitive plans and rates.
- Do a customized provider search based on your clients’ specific doctor and Rx needs.
- Deliver printed quotes to your office. We also offer multilingual quotes in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
- Help you with quoting, enrollment, underwriting, and more – including onsite multilingual presentation and enrollment assistance.
For more information about everything Word & Brown can do to help you, visit https://brokerblog.wordandbrown.com/q4. Or, contact your Word & Brown representative. If you’re not already doing business with Word & Brown, visit our new broker website.
Fun Fact: Q4 isn’t only a busy time for Health Insurance brokers. It’s also an important and busy time for many retailers. Costume rental firms generate most of their business in Q4, with Halloween and holiday party costume rentals. Other retailers also rely on holiday sales starting with the Thanksgiving weekend to push them from the “red” (operating at a loss) to the “black” (making a profit); that’s why the Friday after Thanksgiving is often referred to as Black Friday.