Flei Blog

Too Many Benefits?

As a business is there such thing as too many benefits for your employees? Coming from a benefits company of course we would say no there isn’t. From an employee perspective, the answer would lean more towards yes there is to many benefits.

Reasons

The reason why employees think that there are too many benefits is that they are confusing. The average employee doesn’t know when to use an accident plan vs a short-term disability. Or why they would want to pay for group life insurance when they could get it on their own.

Lack of teaching employees the benefits is not the businesses fault. The human resources as amazing as they maybe they aren’t licensed in almost all the situations for benefits. It should be the company offering the benefits that takes the time to explain what they are, how they work, and what to do if they have a question. Adding benefits should not be another nightmare for the owner it should be an opportunity to attract higher skilled employees and retain the best employees.

For benefit companies, we want to provide the most to reach to every employee so that they don’t feel left out. Therefore, there is never too many benefits. Benefit companies love to provide the basics, but are itching for opportunities to connect the local community to the business. Discount programs is one that is rarely utilized but can be very helpful to the employees. Partnering with other businesses to provide your employees to reduce their bills, improve themselves, or treat to something special is meaning full and should not be overlooked.

Focus

As you run your business it is important to focus on building, sales, and margins. But in the long run your employees are your best customers. Take care of them and they will be showing everyone they know the business you are trying to grow. There can be too many benefits, and there can be not enough benefits for your company it is a matter of choosing what is best for you and being able to choose a company that is willing to walk you through that process. Look around and you will find one.

As a side note there are benefit companies that specialize in specific parts of the benefits package. So, don’t be closed to them, because they may be the best connection to all your other resources.

Employees

If you have noticed that your employer has either too many or too few benefits for your taste the simplest way is to bring it up to them.  They may be juggling many things and are not thinking about it at that time.  Maybe take some ideas with you on how you could or would change them.

Having worked for a number of employers they all take the opportunity to listen, and have even gone further when I have brought ideas and wanted to be the one to do the work for it.  Try it out and see what you think.  The worst that would happen is that they say they don’t have time now to think about it.  Even in that case when the time does come you will be the first person to be though of.

Benefits Managers

It is fascinating just how much the world changes.  Day in and day out things change.  We may not see them as big or very relevant at that point. But they find a way into your life.  Looking back a little more than 7 years and our phones were just getting apps we could check email on wifi.  Now just see what you can do with your phones now.

Learn New Or Keep Old

As small business owners there is constant struggle for maintaining your benefits.  Do you keep your old ones because of the fear of having to start over?  Do you learn about new ones to keep up to date with the latest and greatest?  These seem to be very different ideas from each other.

Learning new things can be difficult, time consuming, and even distracting for you.  But it means that you are all the more involved in what is going on in your business.  Believe me the employees will notice when you are involved.

Keeping the old benefits will take much less time off your hands.  It will be more familiar for your employees as the open enrollment period comes about.

A Possible Alternative

For you there is an opportunity for an alternative solution.  This would be to meet in the middle.  This alternative would allow you to stay on top new and exciting opportunities/improvements to your benefits.  It would also allow you to see opportunities for developing what is familiar to you and your employees.  Many times carriers will update their policies and programs that go with the policies.  Unless asked about then the new improvements and additions will not be added or even talked about much of the time.

How To Get To Middle Ground

At this point you may be asking well how do I get to this middle ground.  How do you stay on top of the new yet keep ahold of the old. The simplest solution is to get a benefits manager.

What do you need to know about benefits managers?

First, is that a good benefits manager should be willing and able to do all the work for you.  You should not need to hire a new human resources person in order to add a benefit to your employees.  They should meet with the employees and help them understand all of their options.  As part of this the benefits manager should be a fiduciary to the employer and employee.

Second,  they should have a plan to keep you in the loop about your benefits.  You as an employer should expect at least three touches through out the year outside of daily account activity.  What to talk about with your benefits advisor is a whole nother topic that you will be able to learn about.

Third, they should always be willing to research and learn about something that you have heard about or have seen in your travels and business building.  Whether you hear it at a conference or in an email it is always good to open start a conversation with them.

Last, benefits advisors at this time should not ask for any additional compensation.  The advisors work directly with the carriers and businesses involved with your benefits.  This means they will be paid by other means opposed to your business.  As a side note a great majority have your best interests in mind.

Finding the middle ground can be difficult but find yourself an amazing benefit manager and you will not regret your decision.

Independent And Dependent Agents

Have you ever thought why you have always been able to be quoted prices on multiple companies?  Why some people you talk to can’t sell more than one company?  Well I am here to teach you that there are 2 types of sales agents out there.  Not including whether they are ethical or if they know what they are doing those can be weeded out and fixed.  What I am talking about is the independent and dependent agents.

Dependent Agent

The dependent agent is one who may be able to quote you many companies but would only be able to sell you one specific company.  This means that they are tied to a company.  This has both good and bad for these sales agents.  Those that are dependent on one company have better and more access to this one company.  They may have exclusive rights to sell certain products that are not available to those that aren’t.  That is why these sales agents may be more proficient in what they are trying to sell you.  Which is good to be knowledgeable when selling.

Another advantage for the sales agents that are dependent is that they are able to have additional bonuses. The company they represent want their product sold so they will go to additional lengths to keep those agents that sell only their product.  They will offer additional bonuses, trips and even more on each product sold.

One of the main setbacks of a dependent sales agent is that they can only sell the one product so if there may be a comparable product that a client would want the agent would not be able to sell that product.  This is where the independent agent fits into the picture.

Independent Agent

The independent sales agent has their hands in many companies and has tools to be able to quote from.  As with the dependent agent there are goods and bads for an independent agent

For the independent agent the greatest good and greatest bad come from the same source.  The ability to have access to many products.  The good is just that, but the bad comes from the lack of knowledge about each and every product.  What most sales agents in this case will do is learn from each provider what the best product is that they can offer as agents and will add that to their knowledge.

Another good of a independent sales agent is that they do have access to many different products.  They are normally able to customize the product to your needs.  The independent agent tends to have more of a needs based approach with their clients.

Each of these agents strive for the best for their clients.  With all outside factors being equal you should feel comfortable in either situation.  Let me know your thoughts on dependent and independent agents by commenting below.

 

My Learning About Benefits

Many years ago I was offered a job that included what I was told a generous benefit package.  Benefits is a broad word meant to let people know that they have opportunities to receive more for their work than just the pay that they receive.  For me at that time it just meant that there was a bunch of options to choose from.  These options would take away money that I was earning.  I was young, healthy, and naive as to what they really were to me.  As years have gone by and as I have studied benefits for years now I know that there are perfect options for businesses.

What I didn’t know

I didn’t know the terminology of the different parts of benefit packages.  From the basic health insurance to the complexity of choosing mutual funds for my retirement plan.

I didn’t know how the benefits could be used and how they could benefit me.  Again, all I saw was that these benefits would take money from my paycheck.

I didn’t know the resources I had that I could use to learn more about the benefits.  Most every company has places you can go or ways that you can get more information on the benefits.

What did I learn

Over the years I have come to learn the terminology for benefits.  It was mostly through trial and error that I have learned what i have.  I would also include some google mixed into my learning. I know now what a supplemental plan is for.  In learning I know that there can be easy choices for choosing insurances or for retirement.

I know much better how the benefit packages can help me and how to use them.

And I also know how to find resources and people to talk to about benefits that can guide me to use the benefits to their maximum potential.

I also know now that businesses don’t just put benefits in place to just say that they have them.  Rather that they want to cultivate and keep their employees.

What I do now

Now days I work with businesses to set up their benefit packages for their employees.  I also work with individuals to understand their financial situation. Helping individuals take advantage of every benefit offered.  Within the agreed amounts and keeping values in place.

I also take time to answer questions and teach about what I have learned. Within these articles you will begin to learn more about benefits and how you can use them.  Maybe even suggest a few to your own company.

In the end I have loved taking something that I knew very little about and changed it into a strength.  Through learning, research, and diligence I have become better.  Start your learning now by reading more articles.

 

Basics of Disability Insurance

We all know how important typical health insurance is, but did you know that disability insurance is just as important? In the event that you are hurt on the job, and cannot work, disability insurance will give you peace of mind. You will still able to provide for your family. While we would like to think that we always work safely, accidents do happen. And you need to be sure that you have every angle covered in the event of an accident. If you become ill or injured on the job and you are unable to return to work, there are a couple of options that will replace lost income. These types of disability insurance are not going to fully replace your income.  This is because they want you to have an incentive for returning back to work once you get well.

Social Security benefits are paid to you when your disability is expected to last for at least 12 months. This is when no gainful employment can occur and you remain out of work for the duration of your leave. Employer-paid disability is required by almost every state in the United States. This type of disability insurance is deducted from your paycheck, and is there for you in the event of an accident. When you are looking at disability insurance policies, it is important to understand what they mean. While the two available policies are both for disability, they both cover a different amount of time you will be covered, and when you will start receiving your compensation.

The 2 Different Types of Disability

A short-term disability policy means that you will be covered for no longer than 2 years. With this policy you may have to wait up to 14 days before you start receiving compensation. A long-term disability policy is a little different. The disability compensation will not kick in for several weeks, sometimes a couple of months. However, long-term disability will cover you for a longer period of time, and sometimes for the rest of your life.

Along with having the two different types of insurance policies, there are also two different protection features. Protection is offered to you to ensure that you are not going to be treated unfairly due to your inability to work. Non-cancelable means that for no reason other than not paying your premiums can your policy be canceled. With this type of policy you will lock in your premium and will not risk a decrease in the benefits. On the other hand, a guaranteed renewable policy means that the same benefits will be available every year. The only way that your premium will be increased is if every policyholder within the same rating class as yourself increases also.

While there are many options when choosing your insurance as well, these are the most popular selections. It is important to discuss all available options when choosing a policy to ensure that you know what you will receive in the event of an accident or illness. Talk to us to research your options. And to find the best choice for you and your family.

Alternative Medicine – Gaining Popularity And Acceptance

Alternative medicine has been gaining in both popularity and acceptance in recent years. Many cities now have plenty of shops  for alternative medicine.  A person interested in buying alternative medicines can find whatever they are seeking. In addition to being able to take advantage of many alternative medicine services at local practitioners’ offices.

Alternative medicine is a type of treatment that’s not officially recognized by the medical establishment as a relief or cure. There are literally thousands of practices that fall under this category. Most people would be surprised to find that some of the techniques that either are or once were considered to be alternative are now accepted.

Not too far back in medical history, doctors did not wash their hands while helping child labor. The result of not washing hands was thousands of infections and death due to bacterial transfer. Doctors who advocated the practice of hand-washing or warned of unseen microbes were shunned and mocked by their peers. And only in the last century has sterilization become a common and then regulated medical practice. It is hard to believe that something we take so much for granted was once considered alternative medicine.

Today’s MEDICINE

In the 21st century, alternative medicine is not as frowned upon by the medical profession as it once was. Treatments such as acupuncture are common, and many other forms of alternative medicine are gaining acceptance. Even watching weekly magazine shows like Dateline on NBC, observers can see alternative medicine practitioners curing patients with terminal illnesses to the wonderment of experts. Some are scams for sure, but some are simply inexplicable. Professionals who witness the events tend not to endorse them, but neither do they dismiss them.

Part of the reason for the increase in acceptance of alternative medicine is the recognition of mind over the body. There is increasing evidence that a patient’s attitude can sometimes shape the physical response. And this attitude in part helps to illustrate why alternative medicine is more well received today. A patient who believes he or she is doing better, often will.

Before going out to walk on coals or ingest an ear tuft of a koala though, it is important to do some research into the practice or practitioner one is considering for advice. Alternative medicine is not regulated. That leaves a lot of room for quacks to take advantage of people’s ills to make a quick buck. Don’t rush into anything, and if it appears shady, do not partake of it.

The Night Sky

No matter how far along you are as an amateur astronomer, there is always one moment we all go back to.  That very first moment that you went out where you could really see the cosmos, and you took in the night sky.  For city dwellers, this is a revelation as profound as if we discovered aliens living among us.  Most of us have no idea the vast panorama of lights that dot a clear night sky when there are no city lights to interfere with the view.

Sure we all love the enhanced experience of studying the sky using binoculars and various sizes and powers of telescopes.  But I bet you can remember as a child that very first time you saw the fully displayed clear night sky with all the amazing constellations, meters and comets moving about and an exposure of dots of light far to numerous to ever count.

The best way to recapture the wonder of that moment is to go out in the country with a child of your own or one who has never had this experience and be there at that moment when they gaze up and say that very powerful word that is the only one that can summarize the feelings they are having viewing that magnificent sky.  That word is – “Wow”.

Probably the most phenomenal fact about what that child is looking at that is also the thing that is most difficult for them to grasp is the sheer enormity of what is above them and what it represents.  The very fact that almost certainly, virtually every dot up there in the sky is another star or celestial body that is vastly larger that Earth itself, not by twice or ten times but by factors of hundreds and thousands, can be a mind blowing idea to kids.  Children have enough trouble imagining the size of earth itself, much less something on such a grand scope as outer space.

Love of Astronomy

But when it comes to astronomy, we do better when we fall into deeper and deeper levels of awe at what we see up there in the night sky.  Some amazing facts about what the children are looking at can add to the goose bumps they are already having as they gaze eyes skyward.

Facts like…

  • Our sun is part of a huge galaxy called the Milky Way that consists of one hundred billion stars just like it or larger.  Show them that one hundred billion is 100,000,000,000 and you will se some jaws drop for sure.

 

  • The milky was is just one of tens of billions of galaxies each of which has billions of stars in them as well.  In fact, the Milky Way is one of the small galaxies.

 

  • If you wanted to drive across the Milky Way, it would take you 100,000 years.  But you can’t get there driving the speed limit.  You have to drive five trillion, eight hundred million miles per year to get all the way across that fast.

 

  • Scientists calculate that the Milky Way is 14 billion years old.
Astronomy Discussion

These little fun facts should get a pretty spirited discussion going about the origins of the universe. As well as about the possibility of space travel or if there are life on other planets.  You can challenge the kids to calculate the odds that life would exist on another planet?  I think you will see some genuine excitement when they try to think about the possibility.
Such discussion can be fun, exciting, and full of questions.  Don’t be too hasty to shut down their imaginations. This is the birth of a lifelong love of astronomy that they are experiencing.  If you were there that first moment when they saw that night sky, you will re-experience your own great moment when you ware a child.  And it might set off a whole new excitement about astronomy in you all over again.

Supplemental Medical Insurance – What Is Supplemental Medical Insurance?

Group health insurance rates have been increasing year after year. Employers are being forced by changes in recent laws to make drastic changes in employee benefit programs. Many employers have changed their health insurance to high deductible plans in order to keep premiums affordable for employees. Disability programs and group life insurance have been trimmed down minimal amounts of coverage. This creates gaps in coverage. Employees will look for alternatives to what has been omitted or decreased in their benefit package. The answer to this problem has come in the form of supplemental health insurance. Supplemental medical insurance companies enroll the employer's employees and then the employees pay premiums through payroll deduction. With many carriers employees are also able to keep the plans even if they leave the employer.  It is a great benefit to employees to have this portability in their gap coverage.

A Few Of The Supplemental Medical Insurance Products

1. Disability Insurance – Supplemental disability insurance is sold to employees to fill in gaps or replace lost benefits. Long term and short term disability insurance is purchased with a variety of waiting periods and benefit periods.

2. Life Insurance – Supplemental life insurance includes a variety of permanent plans as well as term life insurance. There are non-medical life policies available for larger groups when a certain amount of employees participate in the plan.

3. Dental Insurance – This is one of the more popular supplemental health products because it usually the first discontinued by the employer.

4. Cancer Insurance – The cancer policy is a single need policy with relatively low premiums.

5. Accident Insurance – The accident policy covers accidental injury and death. There are accident disability riders on some accident policies.

6. Hospital Income – The hospital income policy pays a daily dollar rate to the insured while hospitalized. These policies can pay as low as $10 per day and as high as $200 for each day hospitalized.

What Else You Need To Know About Supplemental Insurance

The need for supplemental insurance is stronger than ever before. Rising premiums on health insurance and the rise in deductable in order to keep costs low create gaps in you insurance.  People don't realize how expensive health insurance is until something catastrophic happens to them, and by then it is too late for the supplemental coverage.  With supplemental insurance you have the opportunity to pay for coverage that is much lower than premiums for health insurance.  The supplemental coverage also pays cash to the individual not the doctor.  This allow individuals to use the money as needed.

What happens with health insurance the next few years will either have a greater push towards the supplemental insurance. Or changes will made in policies to adapt to the changes in health care. Either way will lead to greater innovation and support for gaps we may have in our insurance.

Why You Need a Success Mindset


You hear it all the time: "success is a state of mind." There are people who would argue that success is a natural result of proper planning, preparation and focused action, and that viewpoint certainly holds a grain of truth - but there are also many exceptions to disprove that "rule." Have you ever wondered how two people can attempt the same objective in the same way and only one of them succeed? Is it sheer luck? Timing? Tenacity? More often than not, it's a person's mind-set that determines whether they fail or succeed.

What is a mind-set, anyway? Typically a mind-set refers to your predominant state of mind day to day. It's what you think about, focus on, and expect from your daily experiences. Think negatively, expect the worst, feel pessimistic about your options and that's exactly what you'll seem to draw into your life. Likewise, think positively, expect the best and focus on a successful outcome and you get it most of the time.Mindset, Success

Makes sense, right? But how exactly does this work? Why is a success mind-set so important? There are three big reasons:

1) A success mind-set boosts your confidence and self-belief.

A lack of belief in yourself usually comes along with a sense of powerlessness and futility, which is the exact opposite of a success mind-set. Lack of confidence means you see no point in trying to be successful because it won't happen anyway. Obviously, this type of mind-set is a recipe for failure in any endeavor.

Having a true success mind-set, on the other hand, means you believe in yourself and your capabilities. You believe you can succeed at nearly anything you try, and you're willing to give it your best shot. Even better, the more you do try, the more confidence and self-belief you build - until you're virtually unstoppable!

2) A success mind-set strengthens your determination.

Without a success mind-set, one failure is enough to convince you that pursuing your goals is a waste of time. Tenacity and determination don't exist in your world. If you don't become a raging success the first time you try, you surmise that it simply wasn't meant to be. Unfortunately, few things worth having are obtained so easily!

A success mind-set, however, strengthens your awareness that a failure is not the end of the story - it's just one more way that didn't work out the way you planned. In fact, a true success mind-set makes it obvious that the only true failure occurs when you stop trying.

3) A success mind-set encourages fruitful actions.

Have you ever found yourself wandering in circles because you didn't know the best way to approach a specific goal? Perhaps you had an idea of the best course of action but you felt intimidated by some of the action steps required. As a result, you may have kept sabotaging your efforts as you searched in vain for an easier or less frightening way to your goal.

With a true success mind-set, you'll always know the most effective action steps that will lead directly to your goal. As already discussed, you'll also have the inner confidence and determination to pursue them - which is a sure recipe for . . . you guessed it; success!

If I had to sum up how to develop a success mind-set into as few words as possible, I'd say this:

- Go for your dreams.
- Think positively.
- Believe in yourself.
- Believe you can do better.
- Learn, grow and develop yourself.
- Be willing to take chances.
- Give it your all.
- Expect the best in every situation.
- Be willing to fail.
- When you fall down, get back up and try again.

Keep doing that and you can't help but become successful, from the inside out.

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Life Insurance Part 1 The Top 5 Myths Of Term Insurance

Term life insurance has many advantages. But understanding term life insurance and its benefits means sifting through the myths surrounding it; and there are many myths about it. These myths and misconceptions can result in too little coverage causing financial hardship for families suffering the loss of a loved one.

To avoid this from happening to you, we've taken a look at the most common misconceptions about life insurance to set the record straight. In this article we will explore myths around buying term and in other parts to this series we will explore permanent.

Myth #1: I don't work outside the home so I don't need life insurance.

False! Just because there's no paycheck to replace, doesn't mean life insurance is unnecessary. A policy that provides coverage for a stay-at-home parent isn’t so much about the money they bring into the household, but instead about the money they keep in the household.

In fact, have you ever considered how much it would cost to pay for childcare and housekeeping in the absence of a stay-at-home parent? Don’t underestimate how much this would require, child care is expensive and is a growing cost.

Myth #2: I'm young so odds are I won't need life insurance.

Some people are gamblers by nature and choose to take their chances by skipping out on life insurance completely. Although it is unlikely you'll die during your working years, you're not insuring for what's likely to happen but instead, for the worst-case scenario.

That's why term life is inexpensive for young, healthy people. Buying it now means you'll be providing financial security without spending a lot of money for it.

For example, online quotes show that a $250,000 10-year term policy for:

• a healthy 35-year old woman costs as little as $165 a year
• a healthy 35-year old man costs as little as $195 a year

What's more you may even be eligible for preferred life rates that mean the annual premiums are even less! Preferred rates are lower premiums - for the same coverage - offered by an insurer based on your health. The good news is that eligibility for preferred rates is common and could save you up to 30 per cent off the standard rate.

Myth #3: If it's really so cheap there must be a catch.

There's no catch to term life insurance. Your basic term life policy will offer you coverage so long as you pay your premium. You buy term insurance coverage for the duration of time you'll need life insurance, whether that's until the kids are out of school or until your mortgage is paid off. Learning the difference between term and permanent is in our other article "Life Insurance Basics".

Plus, your premiums are fixed for the length of the term. They won't increase even if the status of your health changes.

Myth #4: I don't need life insurance once my children are self-supporting and my mortgage is paid off.

Everybody's needs vary. But how would your spouse manage daily living expenses without your help? And what if your spouse outlived you by 10, even 20 years?

Even if your children are no longer living at home and you no longer have large debts, like a mortgage, there still are questions you should consider before deciding that life insurance is unneeded.

Myth #5: I have life insurance through my job. I don't need any more insurance coverage.

False. The truth is your life insurance coverage through your work may not be protecting yourself and your loved ones as much as you think. Review how much your employer-paid insurance provides and calculate whether this is enough to keep your family comfortable through the difficult times if you're not around.

What's more, when you leave your job for any reason, including retirement, your coverage usually stops.

Myth #6: It's such a hassle to get life insurance.

Thanks to the Internet, getting quotes is fast and easy. There are a number of online life quote services and usually, all you have to do is answer a few simple questions to get quotes. Sometimes, you can even buy a policy online.

Final Fact:

From the time you marry, buy your first home, start a family and enjoy retirement, having life insurance means you and your family have the security knowing you can reach the long-term financial goals you have set out.

Life policies provide you with customized coverage for your family's needs. Comparing quotes on the Internet can help you find affordable life insurance that will protect you and your family in the years to come.

Next week in part 2 we will talk about myths revolving around permanent insurance in "Life Insurance Myths Part 2".

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