Finding and retaining loyal association members may seem like an uphill battle, but you have a powerful tool to help—your group benefits package. Structuring your benefits offerings strategically can increase member satisfaction and retention when you know which coverages to prioritise. Read on to learn how you can shape benefits plans that provide maximum value to your members, encouraging them to renew their commitment to your organization year after year. The key lies in understanding what benefits today’s members value most, along with expert insights only a dedicated group benefits partner can provide.
Why Member Retention Matters
Let’s face it – your members are the lifeblood of your association. Keeping those members happy and engaged year after year is critical to the health and success of your organization. High member turnover can quickly become very costly, draining your resources and revenue streams.
So what can you do to boost retention rates? Offering a robust, thoughtfully crafted group benefits insurance package can make a big difference. With the right plans and perks, you’ll give your members tangible value that incentivizes them to maintain their membership status.
The benefits of high retention are clear:
- Increased member engagement: Long-term members are more likely to participate in programs, events, conferences, etc.
- More referrals: Satisfied members refer friends and colleagues to join the association.
- Continuity and stability: Your association relies on continuity for leadership, volunteers, donors, and partners.
- Cost savings: Recruiting new members has expenses – retention avoids costs.
Now that you know why keeping members happy should be priority #1, let’s look at how to shape your group insurance offerings to do just that.
Key Group Insurance Benefits to Include
When structuring your group benefits package, there are a few key types of insurance coverage to prioritize that provide maximum value to members:
Comprehensive Health Insurance
This is arguably the most important piece. Offering association members access to affordable medical insurance shows you have their health and well-being top of your mind. Look for plans that include:
- Low deductibles and out-of-pocket costs: This reduces financial stress if members need care.
- National provider networks: Gives members provider choice, an advantage over individual plans.
- Robust prescription benefits: Medications can be costly, so generous Rx coverage is appreciated.
- Wellness benefits: Free or discounted gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, and more.
Dental & Vision Insurance
While not life or death, dental and vision coverage are still crucial for complete care. These plans fill in the gaps that health insurance doesn’t cover. Regular dental cleanings and eye exams contribute to better overall health.
Providing group life insurance gives members financial security. If the unthinkable happens, this ensures their families will be taken care of. Even if they already have personal policies, extra coverage is beneficial.
Don’t overlook disability insurance. If injury or illness prevents a member from working, this protects their income stream during recovery. Bills and expenses don’t stop even with lost wages, so this coverage is invaluable.
Critical Illness Insurance
This provides a lump-sum payout if diagnosed with a major condition like cancer, stroke, or heart attack. Members can use this cash to cover expenses that regular health insurance doesn’t account for – transportation, childcare, alternative treatments, time off work, etc. These illnesses strain finances, so this safety net is reassuring.
Accident coverage helps fill gaps if injured in an accident. It can pay cash to cover copays, deductibles, and extra bills associated with accidents. This ensures quick access to treatment without financial burden. It complements medical insurance without duplication.
The best package includes a range of options in these key categories. Each type of insurance supports the others. Together, they demonstrate your commitment to all aspects of your members’ health and provide stability for their families. This peace of mind leads to satisfaction and retention.
Ideal Carrier Relationships
Once you’ve decided on benefit offerings, the next key step is choosing the right group benefits insurance carrier partner to provide coverage. This relationship is just as important as the plans themselves for member satisfaction. Look for these traits in a carrier:
Specialized Industry Expertise
Seek a carrier with extensive experience, specifically working with associations and business organizations. They will have a deep understanding of association member demographics, priorities, and pain points. This enables them to design plans tailored to member needs rather than off-the-shelf policies. They know how to drive engagement in the context of a voluntary benefit.
Having the carrier handle benefits administration centrally rather than your staff doing it provides huge advantages. The carrier should coordinate all enrollment, eligibility, compliance, claims management, and customer service and be your one point of contact. This simplifies everything for you administratively.
Each association has unique goals, cultures, and member profiles. An ideal partner will offer flexibility to customize benefit offerings, pricing structures, promotion campaigns, and enrollment processes specifically for your organization. One-size-fits-all won’t cut it. You want a specialist who can tailor the member experience.
Responsive Member Service
It’s crucial that the carrier provide responsive issue resolution and excellent customer service for your members. When claims questions or problems inevitably arise, members should have an easy time reaching knowledgeable reps who solve issues quickly. Poor service frustrates members.
Your staff has limited time, so look for a carrier able to develop educational materials, enrollment guides, and promotional campaigns to help inform and engage your members. This includes websites, emails, flyers, posters, and more.
Ultimately, you want a carrier relationship that feels like an extension of your team. Leveraging group benefits expertise tailored to associations is key to member satisfaction.
For these reasons, NPA Benefits are recommended. As an association specialist with decades dedicated solely to the association market, NPA Benefits offers specialized expertise that drives membership growth, creates non-dues revenue, and ultimately leads to satisfaction and retention.
Plan Design Considerations
Once you’ve decided on partnering with a group benefits provider, the next step is collaborating on the actual plan designs. There are a few important considerations around benefit levels, costs, and promotion.
Balance Comprehensiveness and Affordability
Offering the most generous benefits possible is great, but keep affordability in mind too. Work with your carrier to include the desired coverage while maintaining reasonable member premium contributions. Remember, enrollment is voluntary.
Account for Demographic Needs
Factor in the age range, family sizes, and needs of your membership. For instance, older members may prioritize lower prescription costs, while younger singles are attracted to price.
Get Member Input
Conducting periodic member surveys can provide valuable insights into the benefits they value most. This will help assess current offerings and make future adjustments.
Don’t just discuss benefits during open enrollment. Promoting programs all year fosters engagement. Work with your carrier on awareness campaigns through multiple channels.
Once your tailored group benefits package is implemented, it’s crucial to measure participation, satisfaction, and other metrics on an ongoing basis to gauge effectiveness and identify potential areas for improvement
Conduct Member Surveys
One important method is conducting periodic member surveys. These should ask targeted questions about benefits experiences, which offerings they find most valuable, where they’d like to see enhancements, and overall satisfaction. Tracking survey data year-over-year provides insight into how perceptions are changing. Pay close attention to open-ended feedback for specific ways to update plans.
Monitor Retention Rates
Monitoring overall member retention rates annually is another vital metric. Compare current rates to those prior to rolling out new benefits. Rising retention is a strong indicator that members are satisfied and see value in offerings. Low retention may signal poor engagement or promotion of benefits.
Analyze Open Enrollment Renewals
During open enrollment periods, carefully analyze renewal rates to see if existing members are actively electing to continue their plans. The high renewal rate shows satisfaction, while low renewals suggest members are not finding benefits worthwhile. Use renewal data to target underperforming plans.
Track Premium Metrics
On the financial side, benchmark metrics like per-member benefit premiums as you expand offerings over time. Growth in this premium figure indicates uptake is strong. Compare to prior years to quantify engagement. High and rising premiums per member signal value.
The Bottom Line
Thoughtfully structuring your association’s group benefits package takes effort, but the reward is increased member satisfaction and retention. By partnering with specialists like NPA Benefits, prioritizing the right coverages, promoting year-round, and measuring data regularly, you can develop offerings that demonstrate value, foster loyalty, and strengthen your organisation as a whole.