For years there has been a need for carriers to staff thousands of meetings each year with either their own staff or with independent contract "enrollers" or "counselors." Usually, these meetings are either: one-on-one employee meetings, benefit fairs, or formal group presentations.
As more voluntary products (i.e. life, cancer, critical illness, accident, disability, LTCi, etc.) are sold in the market, there is an even greater need for onsite representation. There is a trend in using call center and online self-serve websites, but the personal touch is still viewed as the gold standard when advising employees of their options.
Let's face it, benefits can be difficult for employees to understand. More and more carriers have turned toward utilizing the services of licensed and experienced independent enrollers to assist them in their worksite efforts. Using contract enrollers has really been a normal course of business for about 20 years.
In the last ten years there have been many carriers who have seen the value proposition in outsourcing this onsite communication. The reluctance for some carriers has been from their concern over the training and quality assurance when representing them. Of course, it should be a concern as this is a vital part of the programs' success.
With the advent of online resources - such as webinars, complete Enroller Field Guides, Best Practice guides, Enroller Codes of Ethics, on-demand videos, etc. - this training is no longer a stumbling block. However, the next big hurdle is the logistics and cost of using contract enrollers.
No matter the size of the employer, finding the right people to do worksite can be a huge challenge; this is especially the case if employers are trying to stay within a budget. Software can play a big role in this effort. It should come as no surprise that flying an enroller from Philadelphia to Phoenix for a two-day event costs a lot more than using a Phoenix-based enroller to do the same job.
There is no need for hotel, airfare, meals, rental car, parking, etc. In most cases, mileage is the only "travel expense" incurred. Plus, you have the added benefit of the enroller being able to relate to the locals because he/she is one. This can drive sales considerably higher.
Many companies who staff these types of meetings can now rely on software to help create streamlined staffing using the closest qualified individuals. Software now exists that can track enrollers whereabouts in real-time giving a needed advantage when staffing last minute meetings.
An enroller can be contacted to see if he/she can stay one more day in say St Louis before heading home. Until now these types of software programs did not exist. Obviously software can be used to target blast messages to groups of enrollers with certain skill sets, credentials, or licenses (like long term care insurance, Property and Casualty, or Medicare Supplement, etc).
This can be handy if a large number of skill-specific enrollers were needed for a special project. Enroller training can take on a whole new meaning when you can make the training available to enrollers when they have the time to train (i.e. evenings in their hotel). Should an enroller need to be brought in from another area, software can help in airport selection as well as in deciding which available enroller might be the most economically used.
Software can even be used to "interview" a potential enroller from a distance. Another futuristic use is the incorporation of Avitar speaking heads who can educate (remotely) groups of employees regarding their benefit choices. This can even be done in various languages!As the worksite industry continues to evolve capitalizing on these new software options has the potential to maximize the efficiency of human capital.
About The Author
Pat Galla is President of Enroller Resource Center (ERC) (www.EnrollerResourceCenter.com). The ERC is a national network of 1600 experienced enrollers (275 bilinguals). The real time software* mentioned above was written by ERC and is proving to be a valuable tool in solving last minute staffing issues. Please write to Pat for a free state-by-state enroller breakdown (firstname.lastname@example.org) or (502)412-3400.