In the United States, technology is improving the way employee benefits are managed and delivered by plan sponsors as well as the way they are marketed and sold by brokers, a new report reveals.

Three-fifths of American employers—mainly those with more than 500 employees—report using an administrative platform to manage their benefits programs, according to a 2012 Prudential research brief, Tapping the Potential of Technology. Of those employers, 62% rate the use of their platforms as effective, while another 37% see them as highly effective.

Half of those using an administrative platform say it is integrated for all employer-paid and voluntary benefits, the report shows. Twenty-one percent have only employer-paid benefits on the platform.

“Platform integration is seen as beneficial by many benefits managers as the key to enhancing capabilities and driving results,” says Joseph M. Hayes, vice-president of information systems at Prudential Group Insurance. “About half of all those who do not have an integrated platform for all benefits say an integrated platform would make benefits management easier.”

The use of an enrollment platform is also seen as a useful tool. Fifty-two percent of employers have an enrollment platform, and 59% are integrated for all employer-paid and voluntary products. Integration is most common among companies with more than 10,000 employees, at 73%. Among those employees whose companies don’t have an integrated platform, 52% report that it would be easier to have all of their benefits on the same platform.

Brokers are also using technology in a number of ways in order to market and sell benefits—from accessing leads as well as marketing and sales material, to processing claims, says Hayes.

Nearly 30% of brokers say they use tablets to access benefits marketing material and plan information, while 30% wish they had access to the technology, according to the report. Another 20% use mobile phones to access the material, and about 20% wish they had access to such resources.

The Prudential research is based on three distinct surveys of employers, employees and brokers. The employer survey included 1,000 decision-makers. The number of employees polled was about the same. The broker survey questioned 603 group employee brokers/consultants.

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Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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