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ers, will need analytics and benchmarking to see what their competitors are doing, she says. They will need to look at market trends and legal requirements as well as HR trends. Most important, she says, employers “need to find someone that can bring all of that expertise to them.” The need for heightened expertise may leave small employers at a disadvantage, Lawrence says. “Large employers have certain needs, certain healthcare goals, certain financial penalties … They have slightly different concerns than small employers.” Small employers may end up getting neglected in a post-reform healthcare world, Lawrence says. “The impact of healthcare reform could be even-more harsh on a small employer because they may not have resources to guide them through reform compliance concerns. Instead, small employers may make decisions that result in negative employee morale. Small employers are also generally less inclined to consider a total rewards strategy for their employees,” she says. For that reason, the role of insurance agents and brokers will become increasing important. “It behooves small employers to make sure they are working closely with their broker, working closer with their outside counsel, and effectively using tax advisors to determine what needs to be done with regard to healthcare reform and resulting plan changes.” Fully-insured small employers can rely to a certain extent on their carriers. “Those carriers have to comply with federal and state law,” Lawrence says. “So a small employer is going to receive some benefit just by placing fully insured benefits because they can rely somewhat on the insurance carrier. But a small employer is still going to need to look at healthcare reform requirements, what kind of employee growth is projected, and the resulting plan design pricing for next year.” Whatever they do, no matter their size, employers can’t do nothing. “Small employers should definitely not sit back and think that everything is fine and that all they need to do is place the insurance,” she says. “Even a small employer www.insurancejournal.com

needs to think about total rewards and how benefits and compensation and company perks work together to attract employees and provide a total rewards package that makes sense for the company.” In the end, employers must decide what’s most important to them when it comes to health and benefits coverage.

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“They need to take a comprehensive, holistic approach and look at their vacation plan and voluntary benefits. Perhaps the employer may want to incorporate more non-employer sponsored benefits that employees would appreciate, but at the same time do not cost the company money on the front end.”

July 2, 2012 INSURANCE JOURNAL-NATIONAL REGION N11 2/10/12 3:03 |PM

Agency Management Systems / Insurance Exchanges; Commercial Auto; Digital Product Guide  
Agency Management Systems / Insurance Exchanges; Commercial Auto; Digital Product Guide  

Agency Management Systems / Insurance Exchanges; Commercial Auto; Digital Product Guide