Ease releases findings from 2022 Open Enrollment Readiness Report


Ease’s annual Open Enrollment Readiness Report provides insights for brokers, agencies and employers

Ease, a leading HR and benefits software solution for small businesses, insurance brokers, and insurance carriers, today released the findings from its 2022 Open Enrollment Readiness Report. Findings explore how brokers and employers are preparing for open enrollment season and the economy’s impact on the benefits landscape.

The report, which surveyed 1,700+ employers, brokers and agencies, found that more than 75% of agencies predict needing to provide more insurance options to their groups this upcoming open enrollment season, with worksite benefits (42%), health insurance (33%) and mental health benefits (32%) topping the list.

Employee health and wellbeing is top of mind for the majority of employers (60%) when it comes to benefits priorities going into 2023. Other top priorities include: cost containment of healthcare prices (40%), improving employee satisfaction and engagement (38%) and leveraging benefits to attract talent and reduce turnover (23%).

“Inflation, an uncertain economy and the ongoing churn from the Great Resignation have placed benefits offerings squarely at the forefront of talent attraction and retention strategies,” said David Reid, CEO, and co-founder of Ease. “The hybrid workforce has also driven the benefits administration industry to innovate in order to better support remote benefits elections and general support of the remote workforce.”

Adapting to the Hybrid Workforce

The pandemic continues to have far reaching implications for brokers and insurance agencies as they navigate the hybrid work landscape. The business world has embraced remote work, leaving paper processes behind and placing a new emphasis on meeting employee needs through digital solutions.

In 2022, 81% of agencies changed the way they do business, an increase of 7% from last year. As businesses adopt shorter work weeks and maintain flexible work policies, 42% of agencies moved their operations to a remote structure. This trend isn’t likely to slow down as 38% of agencies point to the ability to conduct business digitally as a driving factor in winning new business.

This shift has also led to higher expectations from employers on the role of the broker. The vast majority of employers (94%) believe consultation, innovation and ongoing management from their broker is needed year round, not only during open enrollment. With the ability to provide 24/7 customer service in the remote workforce, in the last year 38% of agencies were able to offer more support in the form of onboarding new hires online, conducting benefits elections remotely and providing compliance support.

Technology Demand Rising, Adoption Still Slow 

In 2022, while a growing number of employers (74%) believe that benefits administration technology is of higher or equal priority going into this year’s open enrollment, only 31% report currently using such a technology solution. Employers noted better cost-estimating tools for employees (32%), personalized employee engagement materials (30%), and easy enrollment technology (22%) as the top three areas insurance brokers should support.

Meanwhile, 97% of agencies believe technology will play a role in open enrollment, but only 47% are extremely confident they have the necessary tools and software needed to digitally serve clients this year. As automated enrollment processes become mainstream, fewer than 2% of agencies expect to avoid technological solutions this open enrollment season.

“Employers and employees alike demand a personalized and one-touch experience when it comes to managing benefits, and that has a direct impact on the ability to win, and keep, customers.” said Reid. “This year’s survey findings highlight the importance of customer service in an increasingly digital world and provide insights for agencies as they look to exceed expectations during this open enrollment season.”

The full report which looks deeper at the latest benefits trends and opportunities shaping open enrollment for insurance brokers and agencies can be found here.

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