Justin Donald Leader

Benefits Professional
  • Every Employee Should Have an Opportunity to Say, “No, Thank You”.

    Sep 23, 2015

by Justin Leader


Upon booting up my computer the other morning I received an email notification regarding renewal of my subscription to Benefits Selling Magazine.  Needless to say I had a big smile on my face as I opened the email and saw my dear friend and strategic partner, Joseph Alfonsi, staring back at me.   Joe was on the cover of Benefits Selling magazine in June of 2009 and can be seen below.

Joe, a former suburban Philadelphia police officer turned Voluntary Benefits producer for UNUM, celebrated a very successful 12 year tenure before departing to form TriBen Insurance Solutions with a few of his colleagues.  Joe is a trusted adviser not only to his clients and broker partners, but is also leaned on by many carriers for his insurance savvy and understanding of the challenges surrounding employers, implementation, education and health care reform.   I have had the honor of partnering with this Father of 5 over the past 4 years on a number of accounts.  After quickly renewing my subscription I picked up the phone and gave Joe a ring to razz him regarding his celebrity status.

After a quick recap I put on my interviewers hat to ask Joe the question that seems to be on every employer, broker, carrier and consultants mind.

Joe, if I may ask you, what do you think is the single biggest issue facing employers in regards to implementing an effective VB plan, or even considering a plan? 

“Justin, the industry has changed significantly in the last 10 years.  Going back 10 years ago, the biggest obstacle in implementing a successful Voluntary Benefits plan was the need.  Ten years ago there were still affordable and manageable healthcare plans with modest out of pocket employee expenses and cost sharing.  Additionally, many more employers funded Disability and Life Insurance for their employees because again, their medical spend was manageable.  Finding a specific need to grab an employer’s attention was often challenging.  Then, positioning that need to an employee at the enrollment level was sometimes more challenging.  You had to be creative and you had to tie in different usages for the benefits, instead of the obvious.  For example, 10 years ago, Critical Illness policies were used for out of pocket expenses associated with non-medical expenses such as handicap ramps, child care, travel expenses, balance bars in a shower, spouse or home health assistance income, paying someone to cut your lawn, salary loss, etc.  Today, the first usage rattled off within a Critical Illness plan discussion is for out of pocket medical expenses, co-pays and deductibles.  Times have changed!

Fast forward 10 years.  The biggest issues facing employers today are too many options and employee education with regard to these options.  Today there are 20 or more carriers marketing a Critical Illness plan and more are coming.  How does an employer sift through carrier competition?  They need guidance.  Today’s employers need to be assured that they have selected the right carriers, plans, pricing, underwriting, etc. for their employees.  Once they are confident they have selected the right plans and choices for their employees, they need a strategic enrollment plan of action.  Every employee should have an opportunity to say, “No, thank you”.  A Voluntary Benefits program is only effective, if employees are aware of it and understand their choices.”

Joseph Alfonsi is Partner at TriBen Insurance Solutions.  TriBen Insurance Solutions is a niche insurance consulting firm specializing in Disability Insurance, Life Insurance and Supplemental Employee Benefits. Our award winning Benefit Consultants are equipped to uncover savings in your current ancillary employee benefits platform, while introducing more robust and competitive coverage to your employees. There are savings in specialization!