Risk Management and Employee Benefits Administration Technology: Solutions for a Time of Budget Pressure

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Tim Keenan
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Facing budget pressures and the need to limit staff and resources for many administrative and compliance requirements involving insurance, risk management and employee benefits, community colleges are looking for solutions that work harder for them. The availability of desktop computing power and advances in web-based service applications has made new, affordable technologies available to public educational institutions. These automation and information delivery systems could not be arriving at a better time. This article introduces two potential solutions for community colleges that provide technology and streamline administration, communication, and compliance for benefits and property, liability and casualty programs. Tim Keenan has been a regular contributor, and Keenan & Associates has been a continuing sponsor of the iJournal.

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As community colleges face budget pressures, limiting staff and resources for taking care of the many administrative and compliance requirements involved in insurance, risk management and employee benefits for their organizations, institutions are looking for solutions that work harder for them. The availability of desktop computing power and the advances in web-based service applications have made new, affordable technologies available to public educational institutions. These automation and information delivery systems could not be arriving at a better time. In this article, we introduce two potential solutions for community colleges that provide technology and streamline administration, communication and compliance for benefits and property, liability and casualty programs.

New Risk Management Automation Technology

Protecting the people and property on a community college campus is a complex, time-sensitive risk management challenge. When you add in the current budget pressures, diminishing staff resources, and increasing regulatory and legal considerations, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an efficient and cost-effective community college property and casualty program. Over the past two years, Keenan has been developing a new solution to introduce web-based automation for educational institutions. We talked to risk managers, business officials, and human resources professionals in California educational agencies to find out specifically what they need to bring safety, accountability and efficiencies to their institutions.

Keenan Property & Casualty

The result of our research and development is P&C Bridge, a web-based portal that enables educational institutions to bridge Compliance, Training, Communication and Risk Management in one secure platform. P&C Bridge is being deployed to Keenan property and casualty customers over the next several months as an added value service.

The P&C Bridge portal includes dozens of features, including an individually customized dashboard. The platform provides:

  • A view of exposures and critical alerts,
  • Analysis of cost of risk,
  • Benchmark of P&C program against other institutions, and
  • A review of the latest developments to risk management programs.

Online Training for Colleges

P&C Bridge also includes an online training component called Keenan SafeColleges, which features more than 80 online courses specifically customized for California community colleges. Keenan SafeColleges will save time and money, as it eliminates costs associated with high-paid consultants, overtime expenses and the need for substitutes. In addition, P&C Bridge includes a tracking capability to ensure that staff has received all required training.

An extensive process of customization and quality assurance testing occurs prior to each community college district's implementation and training. Customization includes performing a 15-point quality and integration check on P&C Bridge for each account before we provide it to each educational agency. P&C Bridge is very easy to use but we provide initial, hands-on implementation and training through an account manager to maximize effectiveness. If you would like more information about P&C Bridge, please contact your local Keenan & Associates representative. Now, the focus will shift to an advanced employee benefits portal.

Bringing Employee Benefits Administration into the 21st Century

At Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, web-based technology was a vital part of conducting a benefits eligibility audit smoothly and efficiently. "We've had an excellent response so far," explained Alice Noriega, Manager, and Employee Benefits/Workers' Compensation for the District. "We couldn't have done this without BenefitBridge. Thanks to all of you for supporting us in our quest for total automation!"

BenefitBridge is an advanced employee benefits portal, providing administrative automation and on-demand information for the employee benefits needs of community colleges and other public agencies in a web-based environment, securely accessed through the Internet. It provides flexibility, integration and responsiveness in a user-friendly package, and offers:

  • An interface with critical systems such as carrier membership systems;
  • A single, secure access point for both employer and employee available 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  • On-demand employee education, decision support and self-service capabilities, reducing the burden on benefits administrative staff;
  • Enhancement for plan documentation and compliance requirements.

Enrollment, Eligibility & Communications

More than 50 customers representing over 150,000 employees and dependents throughout California, now utilize the BenefitBridge platform to streamline their employee benefits administration, integrating enrollment, eligibility, and employee communications.

Human resources and employee benefits professionals have access to powerful tools within BenefitBridge to carry out the demanding responsibilities of their employee benefits program. The system allows them to manage enrollment and eligibility information that will be transmitted directly to insurance carriers and service vendors, improving the consistency and accuracy of these complex data transactions. BenefitBridge provides the capabilities to process open enrollments on either a self-service or assisted enrollment basis. It maintains an ongoing history of enrollments and changes for each employee and can generate a wide variety of reports necessary for documentation, analysis and decision making.

Resource for Employees

Employees can gain access to educational and wellness resources through the platform, as well as being able to connect with the carriers and provide network information for their benefit plans. There are various financial planning tools and calculators that employees can use in anticipation of life events such as marriage, a new child, home purchase, college preparation and retirement. There are also links to state and federal government sites related to their employee benefit programs.

You can find out more about BenefitBridge by contacting your local Keenan representative.


 

About the Author

Tim Keenan
Senior Vice President
Keenan & Associates, Torrance, California

Tim Keenan is Senior Vice President for Keenan & Associates, a leading insurance and risk management consultant based in Torrance, California. Tim leads the Community Colleges Practice for Keenan and has more than 22 years of experience working with California public education institutions. You can reach him at tkeenan2@keenan.com.