Benefitfocus Introduces Property Insurance to Benefits Platform

Benefitfocus BenefitsPlace now serves as a dedicated distribution platform for insurance carriers to more than 23 million consumers.

(Benefitfocus OnePlace gets underway at the Gaillard Center, Charleston, S.C. Photo by author.)

Benefitfocus announced at its OnePlace user group earlier this week in its home city of Charleston, S.C., that it had expanded the offerings on The Benefitfocus Platform to include personal lines property insurance, including auto and renters coverage, available to brokers through Benefitfocus BenefitsPlace. The company has also announced that it had added a greater choice of consumer-directed healthcare (CDH) account options and expanded the life insurance product offerings available within BenefitsPlace.

Mark Breading, Partner, SMA.

From the perspective of Benefitfocus’s traditional partners and stakeholders, the new offerings give employers and brokers the ability to offer employees products from leading brands as part of a simplified enrollment experience that brings all benefits together in one place. From the perspective of insurance carriers, the offerings signify the debut of a dedicated digital distribution and enrollment channel to more than 23 million consumers on the Benefitfocus Platform.

“Platform businesses and the build out of ecosystems are huge trends, and platforms are becoming a dominant business model,” comments Mark Breading, Partner, SMA (Boston) “It turns out that Benefitfocus has been on this path in the benefits space for a long time, and now they are accelerating and expanding their ecosystem into property/casualty and other ancillary products beyond their traditional base. Their scale, experience, and extensive network position them for further growth.”

Delivering Further on Promise of Broader Range of Offerings

“These additions to offerings available to brokers within BenefitsPlace reflect extensive research on what types of new products consumers wanted, identifying auto and home insurance as the biggest areas of need,” commented Ray August, CEO, Benefitfocus. “Offering property options through licensed brokers gives customers access to industry-leading brands and outstanding coverage at discounted rates they wouldn’t be able to individually access. In the future, we look forward to delivering further on our promise to provide a broader range of specialty offerings so employees can bring their best selves to work.”

Ray August speaking at One Place. Source: Benefitfocus (click to enlarge).

The announcement of the new property insurance and CDH products came with other news announced at OnePlace of Benefitfocus’ debut of capabilities, including an improved mobile app, to make it possible for employees to purchase products at any time during the year, rather than only during open enrollment.

The new personal auto insurance products will be offered by three insurers, with a breadth of coverage options to meet drivers in nearly all categories, including preferred, standard and non-standard coverage, according to Benefitfocus.

Personal auto insurance will initially be offered by three major insurers, all of which have “A” ratings or better by A.M. Best Company. The breadth of coverage options can meet drivers in nearly all categories, including preferred, standard and non-standard coverage.

  • Liberty Mutual (Boston) will be providing personal auto through BenefitsPlace.
  • Bristol West Insurance Group (Davie, Fla.), a member of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies (Los Angeles), is now part of BenefitsPlace, focusing exclusively on private passenger automobiles across the United States.
  • MetLife Auto & Home (New York), which insures nearly 3.5 million autos, homes, boats, and other property nationwide, is now part of BenefitsPlace, providing auto insurance products and experience to customers across the country through the platform.

The first provider of renters insurance to join BenefitsPlace is InsurTech Toggle (Woodland Hills, Calif.), launched by Farmers Insurance in 2018. Toggle provides what Benefitfocus describes as a modern, fully digital, customizable insurance subscription designed to meet the unique needs and budget of today’s renter.

BenefitsPlace will also include Afficiency, a New York-based InsurTech that is working with life insurance carriers to create innovative solutions for BenefitsPlace. Together, Benefitfocus and Afficiency are building a brand new portable voluntary benefit, that will be exclusively tailored for BenefitsPlace and the brokers it serves.

Additional CDH Options

In addition to the Benefitfocus consumer directed healthcare account administration launched in 2016, Benefitfocus will also offer CDH options through service providers PayFlex Systems (Omaha) and WageWorks (San Mateo, Calif.). The new providers are integrated into BenefitsPlace through real-time API connections, ensuring the data exchange is synchronized, accurate and available to employees in real time, Benefitfocus reports. The new experience also includes year-round education and communications to help consumers maximize their CDH contributions, including the triple-tax benefits of funding their HSAs, as well as ensuring they understand how to alter contributions all year long as things change in their lives, the vendor says.

Benefitfocus reports that these additions to BenefitsPlace represent the beginning of the company’s expansion into an even greater array of differentiated solutions, which Benefitfocus is exploring through InnovationPlace, its new startup partner program. The goal of InnovationPlace is to help Benefitfocus enable innovative product and services for the consumers of BenefitsPlace, the company says.

Technology Brings Insurance Customer Experience to the Forefront

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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