“Frankly, I think education is the biggest thing we do,” says Jeff Eiserman, Certified Insurance Counselor working in Property and Casualty with Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance and Business Advisors. “People come to us because insurance is really complicated, and they need good expert advice.”
One of the biggest costs for some employers is workers’ compensation. “On an annual basis, we review claims and educate clients on how prior injuries will impact future premiums.” Eiserman says he also educates clients on industry trends and emerging risks. “For example, ransomware wasn’t that big of a deal five years ago, but now we spend a lot of time educating clients and their employees on using their computer safely to avoid clicking on bad links or going to fraudulent websites.”
Another large expense for employers is benefits and they are an important part of attracting and retaining employees. Erica Gaynor of Ollis/Akers/Arney works with large employers to craft their employee benefits plans, covering everything from health insurance to disability and life insurance. “My primary role is to work with the employer to build and develop this plan that they offer to their employees and my next priority is to educate the staff and make sure they’re aware of the benefits on offer.”
Gaynor conducts frequent meetings with CEOs and employees to ensure that everyone understands the plan before there’s an emergency or a diagnosis. “Dealing with these lifechanging issues is hard enough,” she says. “Knowing how your insurance plan is going to work when you need it is crucial.” Another part of education entails keeping clients aware of any legislation changes that affect the marketplace and in turn, benefits plans.
“Just like Property and Casualty insurance, employee benefit plans are extremely complicated,” she says. She mentions that health insurance can be especially complex. “It’s a lot to process while trying to run your business.”
Both Gaynor and Eiserman say that all this time spent on education has an added bonus in cost savings for the company. “It all works in tandem,” says Eiserman. “The employees get the best benefits possible and the employer is driving down costs and it’s all because of that education.”
Gaynor and Eiserman also note that Ollis/Akers/Arney agents are serious about their own education. “The agency has invested a lot in us so that we can take this extremely complicated thing and make it easy for clients and help them protect their future,” says Gaynor. Eiserman adds, “so we can do the best for our clients.” In addition to the required continuing education for agents, most Ollis/Akers/Arney agents have multiple designations and are encouraged to attend educational events that feature industry leaders so they can stay up to date with the ever-evolving world of insurance.
“Anyone can provide a quote to a business owner,” says Eiserman. “We do the research on the back end to provide advice and help them make decisions proactively instead of reactively. Surprises are not great when it comes to insurance.”