|By Business Wire||
|October 10, 2012 08:42 AM EDT||
While there’s significant dialogue in the marketplace from companies developing new benefits approaches for large employers, Digital Insurance (www.digitalinsurance.com) is launching one of the first private insurance exchanges in the country specifically designed to address the needs of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMB).
As broker behemoths scramble to create private exchange strategies and defined contribution benefits strategies, privately held Digital, the nation's largest and most technologically advanced employee benefits-only agency, is rolling out a SMB solution supported by an infrastructure it has spent more than a decade building and refining.
“The post-health care reform world is spawning fresh approaches to employee benefits, which typically neglect small businesses because no other company has figured out how to effectively advise and support this highly fragmented, time-intensive market,” says Adam Bruckman, president and chief executive officer, Digital Insurance. “We’re committed to market innovation and understand the needs of employers in this growing segment of our economy. Someone needs to effect change and level the playing field for SMB firms. Creating an exchange is the first major step in this direction for smaller employers.”
Mike Sullivan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, further explains, “Digital Insurance has proven operational scope to manage hundreds and thousands of relationships. Through partnerships with large brokers and its own network of local offices, Digital already represents close to 1 million insured lives nationwide, manages employee benefits programs for almost 25,000 employers and partners with more than 275 agencies, brokers, financial services firms and banks.”
Digital’s private exchange, in partnership with the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, offers a defined contribution solution to employers. Participating employers simply designate the amount they want to contribute annually to each employee’s benefits package (a “defined contribution”), arrange payroll deduction and their work is done.
The exchange empowers employees to prioritize insurance needs and choose from an online marketplace the types of insurance and coverage that best meets their needs. Employees visit the online site to design their customized plan, selecting from a comprehensive array of insurance products featuring competitive rates, varied plans and advantages seldom available to small businesses. Options include health, life, disability, accident, critical illness, long-term care, dental, vision and more, as well as health savings accounts and telemedicine services. Individuals spend their designated funds in a manner that best suits their personal or family circumstances with the option to buy additional coverage or policies at group rates.
Digital is currently enrolling the first groups in Vermont for coverage beginning January 2013, with plans to expand its private exchange to markets across the country throughout 2013.
“An innovation and solutions gap exists in the employee benefits industry today,” says Sullivan. “Few companies are developing solutions for small- and mid-sized companies because of the scale requirements.”
Yet the challenges relating to health care reform are greatest on smaller employers -- the same businesses that need the most help navigating through the new regulations and increasing insurance costs. These companies often lack the expertise and resources, and need to rely more heavily on their advisor or agent.
“Our company focuses on devising solutions that address this gap,” notes Sullivan. “We have exactly the right approach for the SMB market at a time when the greatest need exists.”
About Digital Insurance
Digital Insurance (www.digitalinsurance.com), the nation's largest and most technologically advanced employee benefits-only agency, delivers unmatched capabilities and a progressive approach to a marketplace demanding evolution. An unparalleled technology platform transforms the benefits experience, amplifies operational efficiencies and enriches communications to simplify the health care journey. The company's scale, leadership and resources create distinct opportunities for industry innovation. With an adaptive culture that embraces change, the privately held firm is positioned for enduring success.