You need every means possible to stay ahead of the competition. Otherwise, competing brokers and agents threaten to eat into your book of business. How do you keep them at bay? One of your best tools is digital open enrollment. Statistics suggest that the competition might not be utilizing it. Are you?
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans 2020 Trends in Benefit Open Enrollment and Communication Report revealed some interesting statistics, beginning with the fact that about 75% of employers ask their workers to complete open enrollment online. In addition:
- 79% communicate benefits changes through email
- 74% communicate benefit changes via their websites
- 39% have offered online open enrollment for at least six years
- 52% limit open enrollment duration to just two weeks
That final statistic is important in the sense that two weeks isn't a lot of time to get things done. Going digital increases efficiency and eliminates some of the bottlenecks that can prevent timely completion.
Digital and Not Going Back
The world has finally gone digital to the extent that it is not going back. The COVID pandemic is largely responsible for that. After businesses were forced to heavily invest in the digital transformation, they have no interest in turning the clock back. Benefits enrollment will ultimately be 100% digital. They are already moving in that direction.
Companies are allowing employees to work remotely via digital means. HR departments are transforming most of their routine tasks from paper to digital. Everything in the business world has gone or is in the process of going digital, including benefits enrollment.
As for employees, they have grown accustomed to the digital world as a result of their experiences during the pandemic. They now expect to be met by their employers where they are. And where they are is online. Digital open enrollment is growing right alongside remote work. The two are inseparable.
It's Time to Put Paper to Rest
Continuing to facilitate open enrollment through analog means is to both fall behind and not take advantage of what technology offers brokers. Not going digital leads to:
- Slower Communications: Trading paper documents back and forth takes time. The time HR spends waiting for paper documents to come back is time better spent elsewhere.
- Decreased Efficiency: Sticking with paper leads to decreased efficiency on your end. It's just not efficient to constantly produce paper documents, distribute them to your clients and their employees, and spend time trying to get them back.
- Duplicated Work: In addition to decreased efficiency, the paper system requires duplicating your work. All the information on paper documents needs to be entered into the computer system anyway. That work is being duplicated with every single paper form.
- Increased Potential for Errors: With duplicated work comes a greater risk of data entry errors. When such errors are made, it only slows down the enrollment process. Errors need to be tracked down and corrected, which takes yet more time.
- Security Risks: Processing, transmitting, and storing paper enrollment forms can be inherently insecure. The longer you stick with paper enrollments, the greater the potential for increased security threats. On the other hand, moving to the digital space takes open enrollment into a secure cloud environment that is much harder to breach.
The COVID pandemic revealed just how inefficient paper systems are. To the extent that you might still be facilitating open enrollment on paper, your efforts are going to be less efficient and entail considerably more work than they should.
Paper systems also make it more difficult for you to meet your legal obligations relating to PHI and PII data. Why continue wrestling with those obligations when a digital enrollment solution could take care of them for you?
Time for a Digital Enrollment Solution
We encourage you to work with a general agency offering a state-of-the-art technology solution that includes digital enrollment. In addition, make sure your general agency can help you familiarize yourself with the technology so you are ready to go when open enrollment commences this fall.
Digital enrollment is your edge in a highly competitive benefits market. Are you ready to beat out the competition by giving your clients and their employees the modern, digital enrollment experience they’re expecting?