Even though you can count on insurance renewals to happen each year, it’s easy to let deadlines sneak up, organization falter, or communication get hazy—this can cause a less than ideal renewal cycle or, at best a successful renewal but stressful experience. Following best practices during renewal season helps create a more streamlined experience, leading to more accurate rates and better outcomes for your client.
If you're a benefits broker looking for the best practices for insurance renewals, and tips on planning and executing your renewal process this year, check out our breakdown of what to expect and best practices.
What to expect during renewals
At the end of each contract period, companies can renew their coverage plans with their current insurance provider, or change plans and/or providers. Regardless of what route they choose, it’ll include discovery, requesting the renewal or going to market, compiling responses, and selecting the best plan.
Organization and discovery
Insurance renewals happen within specific cycles, so before the cycle even begins, you can do some front-end organization and discovery to help aid the process. This saves you time by gathering documents you’ll need and strategizing.
While it’s easy to procrastinate this step, organizing is often the first step in a successful renewal. Use this outline as a first approach to getting organized:
- Evaluate needs: Whether you need to prepare for renewal or full go-to-market event will depend on the company’s needs. Determine what worked about the current plan, how the employee population may change, and what benefits they’re looking to update.
- Determine the budget: Before you collect a renewal or send an RFP, you’ll review the prior year’s experience files to help your client project budget needs.
- Organize documents and processes: Decide ahead of time where you’ll save documents, what files you’ll need to request, and who should be involved.
Renewing and going to market
Many carriers allow you to request renewal rates at least 60 days before. By asking for renewal rates earlier, you can give yourself more time to assess whether you’ll need to go to market and start the RFP process.
If you decide to go to market, your RFP should include the following:
- Cover memo: This is a letter that describes the employer group and industry, and explains why they are going to market. It also explains the desired outcome and any specific plan requests or needs.
- Census file: This is an up-to-date file with all demographic and enrollment details for benefit-eligible employees and other additional context needed.
- Claims experience reports: This report shows the premium paid and the paid claims activity broken out by monthly or annual periods.
- Policies and certificates: This is a summary of experience-rated groups and policies and certificates for each product.
- Rate sheet: This includes all rate sheets, policy documents with rates, recent renewal rates, etc.
Analyze quotes and present to your client
If you go to market, organize carrier proposals and rates to help your client to easily compare responses and narrow down finalists. With ThreeFlow all responses are tracked and stored in one system, allowing you to present right from platform or export a PDF for your client presentation.
How to stay ahead of renewals and RFPs
As we mentioned, there is a “typical” process, which for many brokers and companies means waiting until the last minute, using manual processes to track data and information, and rushing RFPs—and then there is an ideal process. By using best practices for insurance renewals like planning ahead of time, digitally tracking responses, and thinking strategically, you can stay ahead of renewals and guide your clients to the best outcomes.
Plan ahead on your timeline
Most renewals happen around January. However, most carriers can issue renewal pricing 60 days before the expiration date. At ThreeFlow, we’ve found that the longer brokers wait to ask, the longer it might take for carriers to respond, which overall tightens your timeline.
You may also want to consider contacting carriers before busy season to get quick responses and ask how to best collaborate with upcoming placement events.
Digitize and streamline documentation
Whether you're renewing or going to market this season, many documents are involved. Take every opportunity to streamline the process. With ThreeFlow, all of your data and communications can live in one place, so you can track, download, and organize documentation.
The best practices for insurance renewal often rely on strategic planning and communication. By planning, having streamlined documentation, and submitting thorough RFPs, you can create a less stressful and more effective renewal season for all parties involved.
If you're looking for best practices for RFP processes, chat with a ThreeFlow expert on how to improve your RFP workflow.