The management of group insurance plan costs even in positive economic times is never easy, however with the current economic downturn, reduced group insurance carrier options and increased claims utilization trends the challenge has been significantly increased. These factors combined with limited buying power for small businesses of less than 25 employees and even up to 100 employees has resulted in many clients seeing double digit increases with the only viable solution available is to reduce the coverage provided to their employees and or increase the employee share of the plans costs (see attached edited Benefits Canada article “Employee Benefits: Between A Rock And A Hard Place”: March 2009)
The Leslie Group who manage over 75 million in group insurance premiums has been successful in limiting overall plan increases in 2010 to an average of low single digits. This is due to a creative approach to plan design and utilizing our leverage in renewal negotiations. While these solutions have and continue to bring excellent value to our current and new clients we felt that we could further enhance the value we offer to our clients. The number 1 employee benefit issue to small business is no buying power. A number of our competitors have chosen to recommend moving to Administrative Services Only (ASO/self insurance) for their small business clients to reduce expenses and costs; however in our opinion the increased risk by moving to ASO to the employer in the majority of circumstances outweighs the potential reward in the long term for small employers.
Our experience tells us that small businesses want value, competitive benefits, with no increase in risk. The Leslie Group solution is a multi-employer “advantage plan” that offers significant savings to our clients without an increase in risk. The key advantage with the multi-employer plan is significantly increased buying power which reduces the plan expenses charged by the group insurance providers by as much as 35% with no increase in liability as the plan continues to be 100% insured and all clients receive a standalone contract. These savings are sustainable over the long term and not a short term fix. When these are combined with our leverage in negotiating renewals, a creative approach to plan design to contain costs while providing competitive coverage, and our preferred pharmacy network of over 500 pharmacies across Canada that provide a preferred (reduced) dispensing fee, this mutli-employer arrangement allows our clients to be able to effectively manage their benefits costs.
Should you wish to explore the advantage of our multi-employer program please contact The Leslie Group at (416) 510-8966.