Before we jump into the best practices of speeding up and simplifying the insurance broker RFP process, let's define an RFP. An RFP is a request for proposals. Many industries use RFPs to solicit services and price quotes from providers. In the employee benefits industry, the requester is typically a benefits broker, and they request proposals from insurance carriers on behalf of their client, an employer group.
The nuanced nature of the employee benefits industry heavily influences the format of RFP, the documents included, and even the workflow used to quote and purchase insurance plans.
What’s the typical insurance RFP process?
The process starts when a broker sends the request for quotes to carriers. The insurance RFP contains information on the employer group seeking coverage, for example:
- A description of the employer group, their industry, and the number of employees
- An explication of why they're going to market
- An overview of the desired outcome, which may include their premium budget and desired plan design
- Supporting documentation
On the carrier side, an underwriter will review the request and determine if it meets their requirements. If it does, they may request more information to gather a complete picture of the group's experience and provide an accurate quote.
Once the broker receives all the quotes they requested, they compile the results and present them to their client with recommendations.
This entire RFP process is usually done manually, through email, large file attachments, and spreadsheets, which leads to an increased RFP time frame. But there are ways to speed up the insurance RFP process with technology.
How can a broker improve their RFP process?
Buying, selling, and managing insurance can be bogged down by administrative complexity and antiquated processes. Using manual, error-prone workflows and low-tech solutions lead to a productivity gap that doesn't allow the broker to focus on what they do best: provide consultative services. This also becomes more challenging on the carrier to provide a customized plan design.
Below are a few things brokers can do to improve their RFP process.
Maintain information in one shared system
Instead of using several platforms and channels to manage requests, proposals, and plan documents, technology like a Benefits Placement System can help improve the RFP process. For example, ThreeFlow is enterprise software that allows benefits brokers and insurance carriers to manage the entire placement process in one shared system. Connecting people, systems, and information enables brokers to create more effective and efficient RFP workflows.
Gather all required documents beforehand
Not including everything needed in the RFP can cause significant delays in underwriting, and make it more challenging for the underwriter to evaluate the case. To give the best odds of success, a comprehensive RFP should include:
- Cover memo
- Up-to-date census file
- Claims experience data
- Policies and certificates
- Rate sheets
Improve quote evaluation and selection
Once a broker receives all the carrier quotes, the broker needs to compile them for comparison. This manual process of compiling and summarizing can lead to errors in data entry. To improve this process, the broker should double-check the values entered compared to the plan proposal documents.
Alternatively, brokers on ThreeFlow can easily export carrier proposals into a pre-formatted comparison chart. The values are taken directly from data entered into ThreeFlow by the carrier, so a broker can rest assured that the information they present to their clients is accurate and up-to-date.
Want more ideas on how to improve the RFP process? Schedule a demo with ThreeFlow.