Creating a seamless group benefits experience

by Leo Almazora18 Aug 2020

Last week, Rise People announced the launch of Canada’s first advisor engagement platform, which promised to “modernize the group insurance sales and administration process from end-to-end.” And according to Julie Bevacqua, the company’s president, that move represented the latest step in addressing an ever-present need.

“What we find is that when it comes to the employee experience, clients are demanding flexibility with their HR technology,” Bevacqua told Life and Health Professional. “At the same time, advisors want to offer a best-in-class, modern group benefits experience to their clients.”

With the demands of both advisors and client companies in mind, Rise took the opportunity to work with both stakeholder groups to develop that solution. The goal sounded straightforward enough – to make the benefits experience powerfully simple across the ecosystem – but arriving there required checking off items on a very comprehensive wish list of features.

“A key element at the forefront of those discussions was the necessity for simple workflows,” Bevacqua said. “Advisors were looking for solutions that digitized enrolment. They’ve asked us for access to an online marketplace that even hosts their offers like individual, auto and home insurance.”

Beyond that, she said advisors were seeking a solution that supports ongoing benefits administration and remitting of premiums to carriers, as well as the ability to automatically sync with HR and payroll systems. They needed the ability to store client data and generate reports, including member coverage lists, a benefits coverage listing, and even more specialized information like an over-age dependent listing.

“Those are the types of reports we’re able to furnish for them now,” Bevacqua said.

The advisor dashboard offers a comprehensive overview of client information, including changes to plan member benefits information and enrolment statuses. The upshot is a reduction in paperwork, a modernized digital experience, and – thanks to the integration of HR and payroll on the benefits side – access to dedicated support from licensed agents and account reps.

“Advisors want to deliver the best value to their clients. They want to offer tailored guidance, and they want to offer an outstanding experience to Canadian businesses and their employees,” Bevacqua said. “And so our platform allows them to focus on their clients and facilitate the consultation process, and allows them to improve every touchpoint for the plan member and the plan sponsor.”

She emphasized that Rise has long been devoted to improving all aspects of the benefits experience, which means looking at the whole ecosystem of players. Looking beyond advisors, Rise’s commitment to platform optimization has focused on helping plan admins and HR teams save time and work efficiently; for employee plan members, it’s been about offering more control through online self-service options, such as adding details on life events and naming or changing beneficiaries.

Another product of that mission to create a better experience for all stakeholders is Rise Benefits Essentials, which allows client companies to enrol employees in group plans and make updates to member information, while also empowering members with self-service features. Those features turned from nice-to-haves to absolute necessities during the first quarter, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and orders to close down borders and stay at home were first put in place.

“At the time, companies were faced with this challenge of working remotely as self-isolation and all these other measures became a reality, and we wanted to do our part to minimize the impact of all those disruptions,” Bevacqua said. “So we offered Rise Benefits Essentials free of charge to all our clients.”

That decision to offer the product for free accelerated Rise’s launch of the advisor engagement platform to support its mutual clients and “evolve the offering overall to support the needs of Canadian businesses.” The advisor-focused platform is available for free, and currently offers the ability to sell, administer benefits, and collaborate on group plans with Sun Life, with more carriers to come as Rise continues years-long discussions it has been having with other names in the Canadian space.

“We want to provide a better solution for everybody in the ecosystem, including advisors, employers, and employees,”Bevacqua said. “And that’s really the message there: we’re bringing all of these worlds together into one."