CASE STUDY

WA Schools Get Better Employee Engagement and Registration with SMS Alerts System During Open Enrollment with Benefits Zone

Public Schools throughout Washington state.

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4.16x

INTERACTIONS PER EMPLOYEE

99%

BETTER REGISTRATION RATE

2.40x

PREMIUM PER EMPLOYEE

Client

The client is a group of public schools in Washington. Their voluntary benefit partner is America’s largest provider of supplemental insurance, helping employees all over the country get cash benefits in the event of an accident or illness. Over 40 schools in this case participated in the voluntary benefit provider’s Open Enrollment program which took place between October 27 and November 22, 2020. Voluntary insurance is optional, but it provides an extra layer of financial protection to the employees who register for it, and also to their families. The benefit partner onboards employees to their benefits program through an open enrollment period, during which they educate the employees about the benefits program and help them enroll in it. In this case, the employees were mostly teachers and administrative staff from participating public schools.

Client

The client is a group of public schools in Washington. Their voluntary benefit partner is America’s largest provider of supplemental insurance, helping employees all over the country get cash benefits in the event of an accident or illness. Over 40 schools in this case participated in the voluntary benefit provider’s Open Enrollment program which took place between October 27 and November 22, 2020. Voluntary insurance is optional, but it provides an extra layer of financial protection to the employees who register for it, and also to their families. The benefit partner onboards employees to their benefits program through an open enrollment period, during which they educate the employees about the benefits program and help them enroll in it. In this case, the employees were mostly teachers and administrative staff from participating public schools.

Challenge

Targeting employees that numbered in the tens of thousands in over 40 schools, agents needed to effectively convey benefits information to all these employees during the open enrollment period. Teachers often have inconsistent schedules driven by the day’s workload, so the information needed to be conveyed in a way that was flexible and convenient to them. Effective communication of benefits and an efficient open enrollment process was especially necessary in 2020, with the pandemic making in-person meetings and face-to-face communication near impossible. Since teachers come into physical contact with numerous people, including students and their parents, supplemental insurance was more important to them than ever in 2020. The supplemental benefits are voluntary, so it was crucial for the benefits partner to promote the program at times convenient to the teachers themselves. The teachers also needed alerts and reminders about the benefits program, so that they wouldn’t miss out on registering for benefits because of their busy schedules.
The benefit partner’s regional office also needed insight into what benefits the employees were interested in. They knew that conducting open enrollment simultaneously for 40 schools would be a challenge for the agents, and the regional office needed a way to manage and monitor all of the agents involved.

Challenge

Targeting employees that numbered in the tens of thousands in over 40 schools, agents needed to effectively convey benefits information to all these employees during the open enrollment period. Teachers often have inconsistent schedules driven by the day’s workload, so the information needed to be conveyed in a way that was flexible and convenient to them. Effective communication of benefits and an efficient open enrollment process was especially necessary in 2020, with the pandemic making in-person meetings and face-to-face communication near impossible. Since teachers come into physical contact with numerous people, including students and their parents, supplemental insurance was more important to them than ever in 2020. The supplemental benefits are voluntary, so it was crucial for the benefits partner to promote the program at times convenient to the teachers themselves. The teachers also needed alerts and reminders about the benefits program, so that they wouldn’t miss out on registering for benefits because of their busy schedules.
The benefit partner’s regional office also needed insight into what benefits the employees were interested in. They knew that conducting open enrollment simultaneously for 40 schools would be a challenge for the agents, and the regional office needed a way to manage and monitor all of the agents involved.

Solution

Benefits Zone built a unique app for each of the 40 schools they worked with to help improve communication and engagement with the school teachers during the open enrollment period. The benefits for each school were delivered via a comprehensive app that included medical and voluntary insurance information, as well as individual school resources.

In order to build unique apps for each school, Benefits Zone designed three distinct benefits app templates for the various schools based on their existing benefits broker relationships, making employee engagement a customized experience for each school. The benefits toolkit app was a flexible solution through which employees could access benefits information at any time, which was beneficial considering their inconsistent schedules.

One of the most important features of Benefits Zone was the mass text messaging program that helped keep the benefits program and enrollment at the forefront of employees’ thoughts with updates and reminders sent to them regularly. The SMS feature also ensured that employees from participating schools could get the app on their phone directly through text message to access it when needed.

Other features of the app included links to  products, brochures, and video resources, school-specific contact information and resources, resources for current policyholders (Manage Account, Log in to My Policy, etc.), access to a scheduling system for convenient communication, and direct access for self-enrollment. The app also included an information hub that enabled employees to directly contact their assigned agent or broker or their school’s HR team.

In addition to the employee-facing benefits app, each agent had a dedicated interface in the form of a data-driven sales enablement tool designed to make it easier for agents to communicate with the school’s employees and keep track of interactions. The desktop dashboard provided real-time insights for agents to track employee engagement  and a list of highly engaged employees based on interactions with the app.

Solution

Benefits Zone built a unique app for each of the 40 schools they worked with to help improve communication and engagement with the school teachers during the open enrollment period. The benefits for each school were delivered via a comprehensive app that included medical and voluntary insurance information, as well as individual school resources.

In order to build unique apps for each school, Benefits Zone designed three distinct benefits app templates for the various schools based on their existing benefits broker relationships, making employee engagement a customized experience for each school. The benefits toolkit app was a flexible solution through which employees could access benefits information at any time, which was beneficial considering their inconsistent schedules.

One of the most important features of Benefits Zone was the mass text messaging program that helped keep the benefits program and enrollment at the forefront of employees’ thoughts with updates and reminders sent to them regularly. The SMS feature also ensured that employees from participating schools could get the app on their phone directly through text message to access it when needed.

Other features of the app included links to  products, brochures, and video resources, school-specific contact information and resources, resources for current policyholders (Manage Account, Log in to My Policy, etc.), access to a scheduling system for convenient communication, and direct access for self-enrollment. The app also included an information hub that enabled employees to directly contact their assigned agent or broker or their school’s HR team.

In addition to the employee-facing benefits app, each agent had a dedicated interface in the form of a data-driven sales enablement tool designed to make it easier for agents to communicate with the school’s employees and keep track of interactions. The desktop dashboard provided real-time insights for agents to track employee engagement  and a list of highly engaged employees based on interactions with the app.

Approach

During the open enrollment period between October 27 and November 22, Benefits Zone partnered with the participating schools to send employees important updates and information about their benefits via SMS. For the schools project, Benefits Zone had the opportunity to test the efficacy of the text messaging program, as some schools opted out of this program.

Six messages were drafted and sent to the employees during the open enrollment period:

  • OE Start Date: Initial text message sharing details about the app
  • 13 days later: Second text message with an app invitation
  • 9 days later: Reminder message sent to registered end users of the benefits toolkit
  • 4 days later: Alert about the deadline of the primary benefits program and voluntary benefit enrollment extension announcement
  • 16 days later: Reminder about voluntary benefit enrollment extension
  • 1 day later: Final reminder from voluntary benefit partner about the voluntary program

As only a handful of the schools participating in the open enrollment opted for the SMS program, the Benefits Zone team could review its efficacy by comparing metrics such as interactions per employee, registration rates, and annual premium per employee for the people who received text messages and those who did not.

In addition to text messages, Benefits Zone also worked with the schools’ HR teams and the benefits partner to draft and schedule email communications about the program.

To improve outreach and promote the benefits app, Benefits Zone also worked with the HR teams and agent coordinators to create a flyer template. With the insights provided by the app, Benefits Zone compiled a list of highly engaged employees based on employee interactions with the benefits app and provided them to the lead agents. This actionable list of employees who were already interested in the program helped the agents prioritize their outreach efforts.

Approach

During the open enrollment period between October 27 and November 22, Benefits Zone partnered with the participating schools to send employees important updates and information about their benefits via SMS. For the schools project, Benefits Zone had the opportunity to test the efficacy of the text messaging program, as some schools opted out of this program.

Six messages were drafted and sent to the employees during the open enrollment period:

  • OE Start Date: Initial text message sharing details about the app
  • 13 days later: Second text message with an app invitation
  • 9 days later: Reminder message sent to registered end users of the benefits toolkit
  • 4 days later: Alert about the deadline of the primary benefits program and voluntary benefit enrollment extension announcement
  • 16 days later: Reminder about voluntary benefit enrollment extension
  • 1 day later: Final reminder from voluntary benefit partner about the voluntary program

As only a handful of the schools participating in the open enrollment opted for the SMS program, the Benefits Zone team could review its efficacy by comparing metrics such as interactions per employee, registration rates, and annual premium per employee for the people who received text messages and those who did not.

In addition to text messages, Benefits Zone also worked with the schools’ HR teams and the benefits partner to draft and schedule email communications about the program.

To improve outreach and promote the benefits app, Benefits Zone also worked with the HR teams and agent coordinators to create a flyer template. With the insights provided by the app, Benefits Zone compiled a list of highly engaged employees based on employee interactions with the benefits app and provided them to the lead agents. This actionable list of employees who were already interested in the program helped the agents prioritize their outreach efforts.

The benefits app is built based on our core pillars

All these core pillars focus on flexibility and ease of use, making it easier for employees to understand the importance of a benefits program and contact their assigned agent with any questions. This made outreach efforts easier, too, since the agents could easily direct employees to any information they want on the app, allowing the agents to focus on writing policies for more employees.

Access

Employees are given access to the full benefits offering. This includes policy information, tools, and the direct contact information of brokers and administrators.

Education

The app ensures that resources, benefits information, brochures, and easy access to enrollment are all available at the employees’ fingertips.

Communication

Employees receive direct communications with reminders for important deadlines, and enrollment milestones via automated SMS messages.

Enrollment & Beyond

The app’s one-touch access policy and downloadable claims forms allow employees to easily access all the data they require, even after the Open Enrollment period.

Result

Educating the employees of over 40 schools across an area would have been a significant undertaking even before the pandemic made in-person meetings dangerous. So, a single platform to support open enrollment and educate employees about the benefits program in a flexible manner was highly valuable. The Benefits Zone app enabled the teachers to educate themselves and enroll for benefits at any time, which was essential given their inconsistent schedules.

Even more beneficial was the SMS alerts program that reminded teachers about the app and conveyed important information, helping employees keep open enrollment a top priority. The teachers inevitably had a lot on their minds, but the SMS alerts helped remind them about important dates related to enrollment.

Since only a handful of schools gave approval for the text messaging program, Benefits Zone had a unique opportunity to evaluate its effectiveness and gained insights about the interactions per employee, registration rates, and the annual premium per employee for the schools.

4.16x

INTERACTIONS PER EMPLOYEE

99%

BETTER REGISTRATION RATE

2.40x

PREMIUM PER EMPLOYEE

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Learn how the Benefits Zone platform will increase employee participation, engagement, and streamline the benefits education and enrollment process.

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