I think the first thing that makes us really good at health plan renewal is our ability to negotiate. We have a lot of collective experience here, both on the broker side and the carrier side. I come from a carrier background, so I know how the carriers do their underwriting. We are excellent negotiators, which is the first thing organizations need to have.
Secondly, we have very good carrier relationships. I have been at Johnson & Dugan for 14 years. I know all the players. There are times when we can pick up the phone and just say, “I need an extra three or 4 percent off the rate,” and generally speaking, we are going to get that discount.
We also have knowledge of the products. In several recent situations, carriers have had brand new products that they had not yet introduced, but just by our inquiring and asking questions proactively, they told us what was coming up or what had just come out, and we often earned significant reductions to the renewal without changing benefits at all.
Finally, the most important area of expertise is in engaging employees in the process. Employee engagement is something that has been around for a while, but employers are really starting to focus on it now because they know that happier, healthier employees are more productive employees. They also know that healthier employees yield lower health care costs.