Great-West Life announced on Feb. 20 the launch of Flexbox, a self-serve, online benefits platform for small businesses. This is the insurer’s first direct offering to employers. Flexbox can also be offered through advisors.
Flexbox is a platform “where small business employers can learn about group benefits at their convenience, design and get pricing for an entry-level plan tailored to their budget,” stated the company in an announcement. Purchases can be made on the spot by employers, or through an advisor for those who would like guidance.
Technical support during the application process is available. Flexbox includes access to GWL’s GroupNet for plan members and administrators in addition to other products and services, says the company.
National expansion planned
The pIatform is presently available in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. A national expansion is expected in the future.
Flexbox is offered to businesses with two to 20 employees that do not already have, or have not had, a group benefits plan in place over the last two years, says GWL. With this launch, the insurer says it is aiming to meet the needs of an underserved market.
“Small businesses are the largest private employer group in Canada, yet many do not offer employee health benefits, whether due to cost, lack of flexibility in plan design or difficulty researching provider options,” says Roger Maguet, Senior Vice-President, Plan Sponsor Services for Great-West Life. “Not only can that make it more difficult for these small business employers to attract and retain employees, but it can leave a large segment of Canadians vulnerable to routine and unexpected health costs. With Flexbox, we’re looking to change that by helping small business employers provide their employees with additional financial security and support at a time when they need it most.”
Minimal servicing effort
Ryan Weiss, Assistant Vice-President, Market Development, Customer Experience and Marketing, GWL told the Insurance Journal that Flexbox provides participating advisors with an opportunity to easily tap into the Canadian small business owner market valued at $6.2 billion. “Advisors will earn commission on each sale they make, with minimal servicing effort. All they need to do is provide their small business customer with their advisor code and direct them to Flexbox. We do the rest.”
He adds that Flexbox gives advisors “an opportunity to digitize their business and advice with a low-risk, underserved market, and all claims experiences and renewals are fully pooled, so advisors won’t need to manage yearly renewals.”
Weiss says there is an incentive for small business owners to work with an advisor. The premium will be lower by using an advisor code than without one.