On November 8th, ZLC Employee Benefits Solutions hosted our annual professional development series covering today’s trends in employee benefits and practical strategies to meet the needs of you and your business. Our line-up of speakers shared their insights and expertise during a morning seminar with four engaging sessions.
The seminar kicked off with Dan Eisner, an advisor from ZLC Employee Benefits Solutions. Dan reminded our audience that there are so many variables at play in a post-covid world that are affecting both the changing needs of employees as well as creating challenges for employers to provide comprehensive and efficient benefits plans. Dan specifically covered how employers can financially prepare with his session: Employee Benefits Costs for 2023 – Financial Update in an Ongoing Turbulent World.
Most topically, he reminded our attendees on how inflation has always been and continues to be a significant issue for employee benefits plans, and despite the expected increases for the coming year, it’s not a new variable to consider. Annual inflation has fluctuated significantly each year over the past 20 years but has averaged about 6% per year. He pointed out that employee benefits plan costs will continue to increase in the near future, likely at levels still higher than general inflation (CPI). He shared ZLC’s projected inflation rate for 2023 about the following plans:
- Long-term disability
- Extended health
You can read more about this topic in Dan’s latest article.
Vince Szeto, another advisor from ZLC Employee Benefits Solutions, covered retirement benefits and their role as a component of benefits plans. His session was “The Essential Guide to Retirement Plan Design Trends.” He explained how to invest in employee group retirement benefits programs most effectively, to be more competitive in the labour market. He also reviewed the following:
- Current State of Financial Wellness
- Industry Trends for Capital Accumulation Plans
- Highlight of Industry Best Practices
The third session was led by Danny Palacios, Vice President, Client Services at Organizational Services Inc., who discussed the “New Normal” in disability management. Once again, Covid has been an impactful variable, changing the way we manage employees, and their benefits needs. In this session, Danny discussed the specifics of how the pandemic has impacted employees’ health, what organizations need to focus on, and why effective disability management programs are more critical than ever. He highlighted:
- The range of disability management programs
- Existing challenges in disability management heading into the pandemic
- The challenges employers and benefits providers faced when managing disability needs during the pandemic
- The mental health tsunami the industry has observed and the increase in the number of mental health claims anxiety
- Moving forward, strategic disability management to support employees in a successful return-to-work approach
The final session of the seminar was an engaging panel discussion led by Fab Biagini, another advisor at ZLC Employee Benefits Solutions, who reviewed how to attract and retain top talent and where to allocate the budget. Panelists joining him were Nancy Pereira, Vince Szeto Advisors from ZLC Employee Benefits Solutions, and Andrea Roberts, Managing Director of Vine23 Consulting. Nancy offered creative solutions on how to deliver competitive plans so that the majority of employees’ needs are met, while not burdening the employer with costly premiums. Her approach requires some preliminary analysis but ultimately can still deliver a cost-effective plan that is viewed favourably by all plan members.
Thank you to our speakers and attendees, and we hope to see you all next year! If anyone would like a copy of the presentations, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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