We are NOT insurance agents or brokers! Since we are a professional fee-only actuarial and employee benefit consulting firm, our income is transparent and is not tied to high or undisclosed commissions, incentives, trips, etc. from the sale of insurance products.
See Sample Engagement Letter here.
A note regarding the value our professional work and our fees. A few years ago, in October, I was asked to help an organization with their employee benefit insurance renewals that was coming up the following July 1. They had a terrible experience with their previous renewal – promises were made and not kept; miscommunications; very little in writing; claims were not paid until lawsuits were threatened, etc. The CEO of the organization was a golfing friend – they had about 18 employees – they were growing but really strapped for cash. Since his renewal was the following July 1 and that is typically a much slower time of the year for us, I agreed to help him out and review the renewal quotes and give him my opinion and advice. In November, he called me and said that they bumped up their renewal by 6 months to January 1 because their insurance agent told him that he found a better deal and that it had to be effective January 1 and needed me to review the quotes pretty quickly. That is right in the middle of our extremely busy season with all the January 1 renewals and open enrollment periods.
I wanted to be on my A-game because he was a friend and golfing buddy, but imagine coming home from a nine hour work day only to sit down for 3-4 more hours of work in the evening for 2-3 nights reading insurance policies; reviewing the impact of changes on the employees; getting questions answered; etc. Or, staring longingly out the window at a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, while you sit hunched over at your desk trying to focus. It’s not that easy.
I was discussing this situation with a CPA friend over coffee. He put it this way, “As a client, you have three choices: fast, cheap, or good – but you can only have two.”
As for reviewing the quotes, that was cheap (free) and good (he really appreciated my review observations which saved him money and obtained better coverage – that he would never have achieved on his own), but it was not fast (it took me about 3 weeks longer than he wanted). So keep that in mind when you hire a consultant – which of the 2 do you want?