The following is a guest blog post courtesy of TrustRadius.
When you’re a life and health agent, open enrollment can trigger an emotional response: Dread.
Without question, open enrollment can be an administrative nightmare. Swaths of the workforce are either enrolling in benefits or changing their benefits. And, it’s all happening in a very short window. But this time of year doesn’t actually have to be such a headache. With a little strategy and a new approach, this open enrollment season can go smoothly.
Here are four tips to stay organized and efficient during open enrollment season.
Tip No. 1: Learn from last year’s open enrollment
Was open enrollment season chaotic at your agency last year? Here’s the most important tip on this list: Learn from the mistakes made during last year’s open enrollment season.
Take a moment to write down the biggest problems you had with last year’s open enrollment. Once you’ve got a list of the problems you encountered last year, take action. Make your way through the list, addressing those problems to ensure they’re not repeated.
What were the most time consuming aspects of open enrollment season last year? How can you streamline other time consuming processes? Were there specific questions or concerns subscribers frequently asked? It would be worthwhile to collect those questions for a FAQ page on your insurance website.
Many problems your agency faced last year can be headed off as you prepare for this year.
Tip No. 2: Identify (and address) the needs of your clients
Ensure a smooth open enrollment season and expect the needs of your clients.
Create an informative resource for clients who will be take part in this year’s open enrollment. Create a similar resource for employees and share it internally at your agency.
Provide answers to common questions about choosing a health insurance package. Or, notify your clients of changes to the enrollment process. This can be sent in a company-wide email, tucked into employees’ mailboxes, or made available in common areas like the break room.
Tip No. 3: Simplify the process
Take some time to try to simplify the enrollment process for both your team and for employers.
In 2018, health insurance sign-up and benefits enrollment are often implemented digitally. But, you can leverage technology that’s already in place to make enrolling in health benefits easier. For example, on the employer side, consider consolidating applications into a signed form. Subscribers could input information only once, instead of over and over. Then, they’d select check boxes according to whether they need to add, change, or remove their health benefits.
You could also try to merge different applications and forms for your employers. Give them one resource with which to meet subscribers’ needs rather than having to switch between tabs and windows. Leverage the IT department that your health insurance company may already have. Or, you could hire a contractor or freelancer to create custom forms and web applications.
Tip No. 4: There’s no such thing as too much communication
Last but not least, it’s important to communicate with your clients. In the weeks leading into open enrollment season, send them pertinent information. Aside from policy or processing changes, send as many resources as you can to make this year’s open enrollment stress-free. Just as a company’s HR and administrative teams must prepare for open enrollment season, insurance agents facilitating open enrollment should begin preparing, too. Your communication will be instrumental in guiding their preparations.
Here’s a very simple rule-of-thumb: There’s no such thing as too much communication when it comes to open enrollment season. In fact, it’s better to risk repeating yourself than to fail to communicate crucial information.
We may have just celebrated Halloween, but there’s no reason to be scared of open enrollment season. In fact, now that you have the recipe for a successful open enrollment season, you might find this time of year to be as sweet as candy.
Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine.