Billing problems are the number one area of carrier administration causing brokers pain, and brokers list assurances in carrier administrative and billing capabilities as the top factor needed to be more successful selling voluntary. In response, carriers in Eastbridge’s latest report, Billing Practices of Voluntary Carriers SpotlightTM Report, describe investment in a variety of technologies to satisfy brokers and simplify employer administration.
For example, while paper billing continues to be offered by carriers and utilized by certain employers, all 30 surveyed carriers provide some type of electronic billing capability to meet the growing technology utilization by employers. Just over half of carriers surveyed offer a view-only electronic bill that can be emailed to an employer or downloaded from an employer portal.
Premium reconciliation was mentioned by the majority of carriers as the top challenge in voluntary billing. To simplify this process for employers, some carriers have built online bill reconciliation capabilities with varying degrees of functionality. All but five carriers offer a modifiable electronic bill that can be adjusted online or by downloading and uploading a file. A few carriers have gone even further and have built real-time updates where employers can make changes online and have the amount due update automatically.
Another area where carriers are using technology to simplify employer administration is electronic file exchange capabilities. All but two participating carriers can accept a file from the employer showing the deductions made and the amount being submitted per covered employee and use the file to reconcile to their records. Most carriers can accept any file type and format the employer desires.
Finally, payment options have also expanded to meet employers’ needs. The most common forms of payment accepted by the participating carriers are paper check, ACH and EFT, but several also accept credit card payments, e-payments via a website, and wire transfers.
Billing Practices of Voluntary Carriers, a Spotlight™ Report
Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada.