Overcome the Distraction
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
posted by Lori Power
The discussion around the new Distracted Driving laws in Alberta makes me think about all the things we get ‘distracted’ by.
As I drive down any Metro road, at any given time, there are so many distractions - other drivers, mosquitoes that have snuck in, my kids. But road signs ... they have reached a whole new level of distraction. Never mind the old fashioned wooden advertising, we’re now in the electronic age and these new signs – jumbo billboard types that use to be a rarity to see at a concert in a stadium – are now the norm on the side of the road, not just to advertise, but entertain as you drive by or sit in traffic. Never mind trying to figure out your next turn or even what street you’re on, these new signs deliver what to eat, what to wear and where to go to do these things and how long it will take to get there. Who needs GPS?
Of course the idea of the new law is to have your eyes on the road ... but the message ... so glittery and available, taking us off course, encouraging us to stray from the intended purpose - getting where we are going safely.
Isn’t this a metaphor for most things in life and business?
With the intention of getting things done, we are often put off course by the distractions, the glitter, the want. It is the want that often makes us forego the need even with our health coverage. So, instead of having the right benefit plan, which covers the needs and takes care of the things we want, we get distracted by the glitz, the show, the sale.
In our business of employee benefits, we are jaded. We KNOW people need coverage for life and disability insurance, health and dental coverage, but people get distracted (scared away) by the cost of implementation and swayed by glittery mix messaging. In the end, often people forego what they and their employees “need” and they wind up with substandard coverage that creates havoc and frustration when the time comes for them to make a claim.
The point, stay focused. Keep your eyes on the road and the job at hand of providing benefits to cover the necessities. Engage qualified, competent consultants who will ensure you understand exactly what you are buying and why you are buying it. If you don’t have a need for it, don’t buy it ... it really is that simple. Then when the time comes, you have the benefit of necessary coverage, at an acceptable price without any barriers to successful outcomes.
Stop the Insanity
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
posted by Lori Power
Posted in: employee benefits, life insurance, group benefits, benefit coverage, insurance, insurance coverage, group coverage, benefits, benefit products, insurance products, quickcard insurance, benefit plan, coverage, health spending accounts, health spending account, group insurance, employee coverage, employee group benefits
Everyone in business knows the old adage of insanity … continually doing the same thing and expecting different results. The same applies to Employee Group Benefits.
Time after time, employers get fed up with their current benefit plan- the benefits being provided and, especially, the pricing. However, instead of looking for something different, something to stop the cycle, they typically just change the carrier and/or broker.
So, what has been accomplished in this scenario? Either the existing broker or a new broker suggestspricing can be established with a new insurance carrier where the company can get better pricing with no loss of coverage. It’s a good deal and typically employers go for it, saving around 10-12% over the existing rates. Inevitability, time marches on, once again the pricing has gone up and the cycle repeats because there has been no real change to the benefit plan.
In essence nothing changes as the business owner has enacted the same old strategy, but expected different results.
It can be different with the introduction of Strategy, Analysis, and Planning.
A good plan analysis will review the existing plan design and measure it against the overall business objectives of the company. This means reviewing the history of the benefit costs and claims, measuring results, accounting for the money being spent on coverage and comparing it the money being spent to provide the coverage. A benefit plan should mirror the business plan, being just as fluid and changeable as the business over time. And, just like a good business plan, the owner should know all the ins and outs of how everything should be working compared to how it is actually working.
To stop the insanity, look at what is important to the plan members, understand the pricing, and ensure catastrophic events are covered. Then plan and implement strategic solutions which ensure superior coverage and price stability over time so the cycle of insanity is stopped.
We Mean What We Say
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
posted by Lori Power
I was listening to the radio and an advertisement came on for Lube-X narrated by a fellow with an excellent, what I would refer to as a ‘western’ voice: “We say it. We mean it. And more importantly, we do it,” he intoned at the end of the spiel.
How important is that in a world full of commercials and mass media? A lot of companies ‘say it’ and obviously they ‘mean it’ but it wasn’t the ‘we do it’ that grabbed me … it was the ‘more importantly’ part of his slogan, because he is right. It is one thing to say it, but it is much more important to do it. Said another way, you can put the worm on the hook to bait the fish and you can catch the fish, but can you prepare the fish in a meal that is both edible and likable? That truly is the challenge.
We can … we are right there with Lube-X … we say we create “easy, affordable, flexible benefit plans” and, you know what? We do!
Our plans follow the KIS (keep it simple) approach and many initially accuse us of being too easy because they have been conditioned to complication in the benefits world … but when broken down, benefits are not complicated.
Our plans are affordable. We consistently (yet another great word that has meaning) provide savings for our clients. These are not just words that sound good, these are words with meaning that we put into action.
Flexible. There are not many brokerage companies that can claim they offer benefit plans to single, incorporated professional corporations as well as large multi-nationals. We do. And we do this while always keeping our services consistent. We build to suit. We listen to our clients and provide benefits that suit their needs because each company’s benefit plan is as unique as a finger print and should be treated as such.
Are you unique?
Of course you are!
Don’t you deserve a benefit package that is as unique as your business approach?
Of course you, and your employees, do!
Give us a call to learn we really do mean what we say!
ROI of Benefits
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
posted by Lori Power
ROI of Benefits
Life is all about choices and to have choices, you need to have options. Often we don't consider having options when it comes to paying for dental or health care services. However, not knowing those options can mean we are paying far more out of pocket for those services then we need to.
For example, a client owns a business and requires dental work in the amount of $3,588. The client has several options for coverage, but the primary focus from the client’s point-of-view is not paying out of pocket for the service so they are referred to Medicard, a patient finance company. Essentially, a credit card specifically for health care services.
The dental services are performed and Medicard takes care of the bill, treating it as a loan in the client’s personal name, not their corporate name. It is repayable over 60-months with the client paying $105.17 per month and being charged:
• 21.95% annual interest, which amounts to $2,719.48 over the life of the loan (at this point many will point out that this client does not have to continue the loan for 60-months, they can repay it at any time. True, but anyone following the financial skills of the average Canadian, know without my saying, that MOST will not repay early, they simply cannot afford to.)
• As well as the one time grantor’s loan finance charge of $215.28
By the time this $3,588 dental bill is repaid, five years AFTER the service, the client would be out-of-pocket $6,522.76! Almost double the original bill. It’s like continuing to pay for a sofa that has long since gone out of style and been sold it in a garage sale.
There is, of course another way, better way, the Quikcard way.
The same dental bill of $3,588 can be funded through their company Quikcard account with corporate money and NO sign-up fees. Health and dental services provided in Canada (outside the province of Quebec) are considered non-taxable, so the company does not have tax consequences of paying for this on behalf of the owner (also considered an employee).
The claim is issued and there is:
• A 12% administration fee charged on the dental bill, amounting to $430.56.
• GST charged on the administration fee, $21.53.
The grand total of the claim treated in this fashion is $4,040.09 creating a savings of $2,473.67 over the Medicard!
Savings are savings, no matter how you slice it … but let’s take it just one step further. The $2,473 is not only personal savings for this client, but because the Quikcard account is in the company name, the full amount of the dental bill becomes a 100% corporate tax deduction instead of the client having to repay the Medicard loan personally with after tax dollars, where in order to pay the $105 each month, the client had to earn $143!
Do you know about the choices you have in covering these services?