Client Stories | February 7, 2020

Automate Your Benefits Administration Process

Benefits administration is often where the rubber hits the road with retirement plans. Your team’s best efforts at efficiency and accuracy could be wasted if your administration process is hampered by bad data. Our data cleanup services combined with OptiNextTM, our secure and intuitive benefits administration platform, empowers both participants and administrators to make the process more effective and less costly.

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How OptiNext works to automate your benefits administration process

Our automation platform takes a two-pronged approach to streamlining your benefits administration, focusing on helping your administration team and your plan’s participants. Here’s just some of the advantages OptiNext offers to each group of stakeholders.

For plan administrators

• Accurately calculate participants’ retirement benefits quickly and efficiently

• Create benefit election packages and generate payment authorization forms

• Store and manage plan documents, summary plan descriptions (SPDs), and other documents

For plan participants

• Generate, save, and download customized, real-time benefit estimates at various ages and contribution levels

• Model total projected retirement income from multiple sources such as pension, annuity, 401(k), 403(b), and 457(b) plans, and/or Social Security

• View illustrations showing the participant’s total rewards

• Access important plan links and news via the rotating Newsfeed

• Access stored benefit statements

You can swap features in and out of your organization’s personal version of OptNext, so your people aren’t distracted by options they’ll never need. It’s about making life better and easier for you and your teamnot forcing you to adapt to yet another cumbersome administration system.

How we’ve used OptiNext to help clients: a case study

The issue

In an effort to save costs and improve benefits coordination between multiple locations, one company decided to consolidate its benefits administration. In doing so, it became evident that to enhance the administrative staff’s performance and productivity, there was a need for both significant data cleanup and an updated pension software system.

When looking through the company’s available data and records, we found several problems hindering data accuracy including:

  • Differences in how data was recorded in older paper records that had not yet been converted to electronic format 
  • Differences in field definitions and other protocols used in the electronic conversions that had been completed to date 
  • Data input errors that were not caught originally and compounded over time

Beyond the issues with its data, the company also suffered from using obsolete tools and processes when it came to pension administration. The company had performed its pension administration in-house since inception, and in doing so, had long-established methods, procedures and tools. As tools and procedures grew less useful and required more steps that didn’t add additional value, little was done to address the root causes, resulting in a compounding effect.

Our solution

To solve the problem of bad data, we worked onsite to help staff sort through old paper records that had been transferred to microfiche and provide additional verifications of records to gain confidence prior to consolidation. We also compared databases across locations to better map data fields so they could be merged into a common — and verified — resource for pension calculations.

In response to the company’s desire to increase its operational efficiencies, our team offered OptiNext as a solution. Senior leaders were impressed with the ease of performing pension calculations and projections on the platform and also embraced the ability not only to archive plan calculations but to perform a multitude of other administrative functions including the creation of election materials and the availability of built-in workflow tools.

The result

Prior to considering the OptiNext platform, the company had determined that, at a minimum, two full-time administration staff members would need to be hired. Implementing OptiNext negated the need for additional hiring.

Additionally, the speed with which calculations could now be prepared was a game changer for the staff of the benefits department. They now could focus on projects that simply were not getting done due to the administrative burden of producing and verifying calculations. 

Participants shared overwhelmingly positive feedback on the speed at which they received their calculations upon implementation of the new system.

This page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. You are encouraged to discuss the issues raised here with your legal, tax and other advisors before determining how the issues apply to your specific situations.

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