By Leo van den Berg
President, IMAX Financial Services Ltd.
What is your most important business asset? Office space? Equipment? Machinery? What about your employees? Are they an asset? How do you invest in your employees?
Through salary, wages, commission, training and education. What is your return on these investments and how can you improve your rate of return on your employees?
Can you afford to pay company funds to an employee or their family in the event of a death or during an extended disability? Have you or your employees ever had a health or dental bill that you were unprepared for? Employee benefits can provide a tax effective policy for dealing with health and dental costs.
Would you or your employees find it easier to save for retirement if you do it through payroll deductions? Employee benefits provide a tax effective policy for dealing with retirement planning issues.
An employee benefit plan provides your company with an effective management tool. It will attract quality personnel and reduce employee turnover. It will give your company the competitive edge so can you afford to be without one?
When considering an employee benefit package, it would be best to speak to an insurance broker. An insurance broker has access to a variety of insurance companies and is therefore able to give you an unbiased report of what is the best solution for your firm.
How many employees do you need to qualify for a program? Most insurance companies require a minimum of 10 employees before they can offer you a plan but there are a select few companies that will prepare a program for a company of six, three, two or even one employee such as in the case of an incorporated individual. Usually the greater the number of employees, the greater number of benefits.
Will it cost to obtain a quote? Most brokers don't charge for their service as they will be paid a commission from the company that they place your plan with. Some brokers work on a fee for service and you usually determine this before any work is done on your behalf. In order to choose an insurance carrier you want to check with firms that you know to find out who they are dealing with or have dealt with in the past. The choice of broker should hinge on the length of time the individual has been in the business and the number of companies the firm represents.
What could an employee benefit program cover? Besides life insurance, long and short term disability, you can also choose to include prescription drugs, dental coverage for both basic and major dentistry and in addition to that you could consider a vision care package. Vision care is available in various amounts, usually ranging from $100 to $200 per person for a 24 month period. The cost of vision care is usually high for small companies and it should be reviewed to determine if it would be better to pay for this benefit outside of the insurance plan. With the ever increasing cost of medical care it would be prudent to include an out of country coverage at a very minimal cost to look after emergencies when traveling away from home.
Leo van den Berg is President of IMAX Financial Services Ltd. and Education Planners. You can reach him by calling (403) 617-4629 (toll free 1-888-383-9559) or e-mail him at [email protected].