Rising to the Challenge of an Evolving Benefits Market

Disruption has become a buzzword in our culture. Businesses are increasingly re-evaluating their operations, shaking up or completely rewriting business models to adapt to evolving technology and the demands of a new generation of consumers.  Airbnb, Netflix, Uber and Amazon are all examples of disruptors who have achieved great success in their markets. With each of these companies, the formula for success has been straightforward—the provision of a more consumer-centric business.

Group Benefits programs are changing too. The industry has been primed for a change for a while now, and our clients are seeking something out of the ordinary, with customized solutions and unique ways to compensate, reward, attract and retain employees. Cowan Insurance Group’s strength lies in helping our clients customize their benefits and pension programs—whether that be through plan redesigns, marketings, or by regular check-ins to ensure that the plan and communication strategies in place still align with corporate culture. But even with their expressed needs, we are aware that our clients are looking for something more.

People want information—faster. As plan administrators face increasingly stretched schedules, it’s only natural for technologies that address these needs to be developed, to bridge the gap of getting information to members more quickly. Cowan monitors industry developments closely, continuously looking for fresh ways to strategically align your benefits plan, budget and company culture. The entire industry is making a greater investment in providing improved solutions and faster services to make benefits and pension programs easier to understand, analyze and administer. The COLO technology solution supporting our Return to Health® product, which provides advanced leave of absence and disability reporting capabilities to plan administrators, is a prime example of this type of investment.

All this talk of disruption begs the question, what are others offering? Industry disruptors are rolling out payroll platforms that entice clientele into adopting their services upon naming the payroll service as benefits agent of record. While this tactic may be appealing to bottom line revenue in the short-term, it raises concern over long-term sustainability and expertise in handling complex claims escalations or plan design execution. Remember, these organizations remain focused on payroll, not benefits management.

In response to the growing needs of a multi-generational workforce, flexible health and wellness platforms, offering health care spending accounts supplemented by scaled-down traditional benefits plans, are growing in popularity. While there may be value in this type of plan design for some organizations, it brings up the broader question of benefits plan purpose and intent. Do you see your plan as insurance to protect employees when they need it most? Or is your plan more of a commodity and perk. Fully digital standalone health care spending account and wellness accounts and third party administration companies are being created and introduced to clients, with a multitude of differentiators based on targeted and anticipated market needs. Through this arrangement, clients can allocate funds for employees to cover additional spend outside of the benefits program.

In this age of disruption, technological solutions are being developed to address the challenges associated with administering group benefits programs for an ever-changing workforce. Small business clients often struggle when juggling existing time constraints with new employee administration. We have outsourced and provided options to many of our client partners, including resources on how to handle human resources (HR) and payroll-related issues. We understand that additional support is often required, to help with challenges and to supplement the traditional benefits and retirement plans which are vital to a total rewards strategy.

You’ve asked, and we’ve listened.

Our partnership with RISE People HR is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that we continue to meet our clients’ needs, now and in the future. The RISE platform is a full-suite cloud solution that streamlines and simplifies HR functions, including benefits and payroll administration. The platform’s comprehensive toolset includes recruiting, onboarding, performance management, time and attendance, absence management, payroll and scheduling to manage and nurture a company’s most valuable asset—their people. With RISE, employers have access to real-time employee data to help them drive productivity, increase employee engagement and make more informed business decisions. RISE’s platform incorporates everything that today’s businesses require to easily and effectively manage employees throughout their employment journey in one easy-to-use platform.

With this partnership, we continue to provide our clients with innovative, and outside-of-the-box group benefits program solutions with another option for clients who are interested in technologies to simplify their day-to-day administration. Even as our strategic outlook and solutions we provide continue to innovate to meet the challenges our clients face, they can rest assured that our service model, our people and our commitment to providing value will remain constant.

To schedule a demo, or for an introductory demo and to find out how RISE compares to other HRIS and Payroll systems, please reach out to your Group Benefits Consultant.

For more information about our partnership with RISE People HR, talk to your Cowan Benefits Consultant.