Michael Parks, Managing Partner, Chief Operating Officer of Financial Services and Tammy J. Decker, Vice President of Operations and HR ServicesHigginbotham is an independent insurance, financial, and HR services firm that provides risk management and employee benefits services to businesses and individuals through offices coast-to-coast. With 75 years of experience partnering with employers, Higginbotham works diligently toward understanding the priorities and eliminating the inefficiencies of its clients.
In an interview with Manage HR, Tammy J. Decker, vice president of operations and HR services, and Michael Parks, managing partner and COO of financial services, shed light on how Higginbotham is proactively advocating in the best interests of its clients and getting the most competitive prices in the market over the years.
What Higginbotham Is Providing In Terms of Value
Parks: Our value proposition is what we call our “Day Two Services.” As part of our services that we provide on day one of our relationship with clients, we perform benchmarking and choose the best insurance companies for our clients so that they can offer better benefits compared to the market. Unlike how it was historically, how much employees pay for benefits is instrumental at this point.
After day one, we provide our Day Two Services®, which is everything a client will need to manage their risks, limit their liability, administer their plans, and control their costs. Our Day Two Services® fall into three categories, the cornerstone of which is how we help control our clients’ costs.
First, our clients do not have to worry about the price at any point as it is going to be beneficial to them in the long run, whether they’re self-funded or fully insured. We also take care of health risk management, the goal of which is to identify people with undiagnosed health issues and encourage them to take care of themselves. We also make health reimbursement arrangements internally to help clients with the cost aspect.
Second, how we communicate about benefits with the employees takes precedence on Day Two Services®. We have an analytical team of expert graphic artists, technical writers, and account managers that creates simple but engaging benefit booklets, PDFs, videos, and other materials that go to the employees. They are available online and in print formats and can be engaged in ways they prefer.
As part of our HR services, we have an employee response center, where a licensed agent helps people through their enrollment process and assists them throughout their employment. When any problem arises during hiring or termination, our employee response center resolves the issues as part of the HR team. We have a proprietary system called the benefits hub that we use to enroll people while the administration is carried out behind the scenes. Since people enroll electronically, we are going to have tools along with some videos to help them gain clarity and make the right choices. The choices get routed to payroll and the insurance companies automatically.
Third, compliance is a component of our Day Two Services®. We have employees who are solely dedicated to helping clients comply with whatever they do, carrying out various administrative services such as COBRA health care legislation and health reimbursement arrangements.
Higginbotham’s Troubleshooting and Resolution Methodologies
Decker: Higginbotham has three different approaches to support clients in understanding what they need to be providing their employees to recruit and retain them. The first one is the Day Two Services® that Michael described, given to any client that enrolls in benefits with us. The next is our everyday HR outsourcing services, where we provide products to assist them with payroll benefits and HR support daily. We offer a second-tier level of support with our virtual HR team, giving their employees a place to relay their concerns. The third approach is our HR concierge services, where we aid clients in managing numerous regional surveys. They recognize the trends and patterns in terms of what entices employees to work for companies from an employee benefits standpoint.
Client-service Delivery Process at Higginbotham
Decker: We have a step-by-step process to guide employees through any queries they may have from the moment they onboard.
Unlike many brokers who would come around only for the renewal, we stand by our client’s side from day one through day 365 with our Day Two Services®
There is a lot of anxiety among employees about picking the right plan. Many employees believe they should be extremely savvy to understand and pick the right plan. Our staff holds their hands throughout the process, eliminating that train of thought.
Employees usually reach out to a licensed agent who can help them understand their options; some of them would be confused about whether to choose a PPO or HSA. We try to understand their everyday problems and personal experiences and guide them through the functionalities of products.
Higginbotham’s Distinctive Edge in the Marketplace
Parks: We provide services to organizations of all sizes and work out funding arrangements at a later stage. We scale down much of what is available for Fortune 500 companies to the mid-market. Higginbotham currently has around 7000 clients for whom we handle the benefits—half with less than 50 employees and others with 51 to 1000 employees.
No matter the type of insurance plan our clients need, we can design a program tailored to their situation. Unlike many brokers who would come around only for the renewal, we stand by our clients’ sides from day one through day 365 with our Day Two Services®.