Stock Health Insurance
Health insurers could work closely with clients to instill better preventive measures among their workforces. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The first quarter of 2023 is already down, and many companies will be hoping changes made in January leave them on solid footing for the next.

With so much to cover, it’s tempting to blast through as many tasks as possible, tick boxes and move on, particularly in HR. There’s enough advice on social media on how to work smart.

For some, April 1 was a whole new financial year – turning an even more important page.

But if you really want to elevate productivity, I am convinced of the benefit of really scrutinising things under a microscope – including changes implemented just a few months ago. What’s working, and what isn’t?

Are lines of communication to staff and senior management – and to each other – truly open? Is the priority for the quarter front-of-mind throughout the organisation?

Then there’s the part I’m passionate about – group health insurance and related benefits.

Why review your health insurance mid-year?

Renewing group health insurance at the start of a 12-month cycle is one of those tick box exercises. Get it out of the way. Your present broker is ‘OK? It’s in budget, at least.

For those working April-March, you can review a whole year. But if you renewed last October or November, you’re half-way through a company provision as relevant on the day you’re reading this, as it was on renewal.

Now, your broker (or end insurer) would have been paid on Day 1. How are they doing on Day 180?

Here are three things to think about...

The basics

Your company data really is yours, and it’s your intermediary’s responsibility to get you the vital information. That means:

  • Renewal terms way in advance of renewal date;
  • Census list;
  • Nine-month claims report; and
  • Two year run-off report

If you’re chasing for these, you may have a ‘service ratio’ issue in addition to a claims ratio.

Your experience of an insurer equals the experience of your broker

The best intermediaries have strong relationships with insurers and underwriters. But this isn’t just about how quickly a claim is processed or an enquiry answered.

It’s a deep understanding and trust between two organisations, and the get-it-done results that get your staff member who’s just taken ill that hospital appointment, or bed.

If you have had any colleagues admitted to hospital in the last few months, what was the experience of the process?

Have your health insurance and benefits actually made a positive change overall?

This is beyond just the basics. This is where the claim that ‘employees are our biggest asset’ gets weighed. If 2022 saw more claims than 2021, how did you react come renewal? Were some clinics trimmed from the policy to try and head-off further cost increases?

What are you doing now (months into your policy) to have fewer claims this year? In service terms, did your broker furnish you with any ideas – better still, an agenda - to install the kind of preventative initiatives to boost health and savings?

Taking stock

This is where the scrutinizing your experience comes in, and one that needs a true insurance adviser sitting with you. My team frequently helps companies by taking over the service of their policy mid-year, to save hard-working HR teams from having to manage it themselves.

The long-term benefits of a prevention culture – managing cost to you but also boosting employee engagement and motivation – are huge. It begins in your insurance. It’s worth taking a mid-year look.