Are you feeling the first-quarter crunch? Between wrapping up last year's business and looking toward the next round of renewals, brokers are already in full swing by the time January 1 rolls around. 

With an ever-growing to-do list, it takes time to keep up with one of the essential tasks of the new year: checking new policy documents and certificates of coverage and ensuring everything aligns with the sold policy and client expectations.

Errors often lurk in new policy documents and certificates, from missed provisions and transposed numbers to differences between the quoted and sold policy. While these issues may seem small, they can lead to big problems, like delays in claims processing, claims leakage, unhappy employers and members, and additional work (and, potentially, cost) for the broker.

If problems arise, you'll want a solid action plan to address the implementation errors and communicate effectively with your client. Here are our top tips for managing difficult conversations.

Act quickly.

You know that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize a mistake has been made? Take a deep breath—the quicker you can identify and resolve the problem, the better. When errors are left unresolved, it can lead to more delays in claims processing, a more significant cost to absorb, and poor member experience.

Inform your client immediately that an error was identified and your team is working to resolve it quickly. Chances are that they'll appreciate that you're reacting proactively and feel supported by you're taking charge of fixing the situation.

Bring in the right people to manage expectations.

Sometimes, you need a backup to manage the conversation. Feel empowered to bring in account managers, supervisors, or smooth-talking colleagues to help guide you through the discussions. Remember that you're not alone, and no matter who is responsible for the error, the entire company should support you in finding a solution and managing the client's emotions and expectations.

Be clear about what happened and stick to the facts.

Our first reaction may be to deflect responsibility and find the faulty party. But in the end, finger-pointing delays your ability to resolve any issues quickly. Instead, try documenting what happened, who was in charge, and when it happened. This list will be helpful when you do a retrospective with your team.

Come up with a solution and actionable plan.

Once the problem is identified, create an action plan, and assign responsibilities and deadlines. It's also a good idea to schedule regular check-ins with your team to review progress or blockers and also with the client to keep them updated. These check-ins can be meetings or emails, depending on the information that needs to be communicated. You should aim to follow up frequently with the client so know you're on top of the problem.

Do a retrospective.

Once the problem has been resolved, get your team to review what happened and how to avoid it. Ask your team to identify things that went wrong or went well, and then mark each item as something you can continue doing, stop doing, or start doing. Assign responsible parties to help implement these changes.

Make policy audits mandatory.

Want to avoid these stressful conversations altogether? Make policy audits a mandatory part of the implementation process. 

A policy audit involves reviewing and comparing the terms and provisions in the selected carrier's quote to the issued policy documents and certificate of coverage to ensure correctness and consistency. This essential step helps catch errors that can lead to costly mistakes post-implementation. 

Need a policy audit template? Download our guide to policy audits.

Alternatively, you can work with ThreeFlow to catch any discrepancies at the point of sale. We offer policy audits to all new policies sold through ThreeFlow. Our team reviews the policies and certificates issued by the new carrier to ensure the contracts are consistent with the terms sold in our system, audits the new policy by reviewing the new carrier's policies or certificates to ensure they align with what they input in the system as part of their quote and confirms our system is current to make future marketing through ThreeFlow more efficient.

Want to know more? Reach out for a demo