We guide clients to clarity through the complex decisions, negotiations and other business challenges associated with sourcing HR and employee benefit program administration and consulting services.
Clients engage our services when they need to:
herronpalmer's clients are responsible for a wide variety of HR and employee benefit programs. We help them seek and build relationships with third parties who deliver:
We will help you determine the most appropriate approach to administering your employee benefit plans.
Building on herronpalmer templates, we construct financial and strategic business cases that address each plan sponsor’s priorities and unique requirements. In this process, we gather and assimilate quantitative data to assess and compare the cost/benefit of alternative service delivery scenarios against the client’s current delivery model. Beyond the financial implications, we also perform a strategic assessment of qualitative factors (such as service quality and risk) that are elemental to any decision regarding a change in delivery model. Factoring in our familiarity with and unbiased perspective on the providers and their services, you can expect a trustworthy recommendation backed by solid analysis and real-world data.
Our team members have led hundreds of request for proposal (RFP) and request for quote (RFQ) processes. Thanks to this wealth of experience, herronpalmer offers tools, resources and experience to help you navigate the selection process.
As your companions on this high-stakes journey, we will support you by:
Developing a comprehensive RFP or RFQ document, based on herronpalmer templates
herronpalmer has extensive market data on implementation costs, core and ancillary ongoing administration service fees, scope of services, performance standards and contract terms. We also have a one-of-a-kind database that tracks the number and type of RFPs each major provider has received and won during the past few years, as well as many other deal-related data points. And finally, we track which providers each Fortune 1000 company uses to deliver their outsourced benefit administration services.
herronpalmer uses this data to develop business cases, to assist with renewal of existing contracts, to assist with selecting viable RFP/RFQ candidates, and to negotiate the most favorable contract terms and performance standards possible for our clients.
At the renewal negotiation table, herronpalmer’s assistance will give you valuable leverage. We’ll provide the market data and analysis you need to evaluate the competitiveness of your current contract and any renewal offer you receive.
Our market analysis will document how your current arrangement stacks up against companies with similar services, scale, scope and complexity across four key areas: Fees, Contract Terms, Scope of Services, and Performance Standards. In addition to this quantitative assessment, we’ll provide ideas for improving the quality of the relationship and overall performance.
Throughout the renewal process, we will provide you with clear, useful information to guide the negotiations. The result: competitive renewal fees and contract terms, as well as a better working relationship.
Note: If you plan to renew with your existing provider, assuming you can secure market-competitive terms, we recommend beginning the renewal negotiation process 18 to 24 months before your contract expires (depending on the service(s) involved). If you can’t come to agreement on renewal fees and contract terms, this timeline allows enough cushion to change your strategy and go to market with an RFP, secure a new provider and transition the services before your current agreement expires.
The herronpalmer team includes expert dealmakers who have negotiated contracts from both sides of the table involving all the major service providers. As a result, we have developed a keen understanding of the market’s best practices, as well as each provider’s negotiating tactics and positions on key terms and conditions. Because of this rich background, we enable our plan sponsor clients to finish the contracting process faster and with better terms and conditions than they could generally achieve on their own.
Whether you need comprehensive contracting support or an "over-the-shoulder" advisor to accompany you through the contracting process, herronpalmer has the tools and skills to help.
According to the Association of Outsourcing Professionals, 63% of companies surveyed believe they lose an average of 25% of contract value due to poor governance. You need not be in that majority.
After spending so much time selecting and contracting with a service provider—and so much effort building requirements, setting up data interfaces and establishing administrative processes during implementation—you need to be absolutely certain you can manage the ongoing relationship with your provider. herronpalmer can help you develop a governance strategy—encompassing process, protocols and tools—that will provide meaningful, practical support to get the most from your new relationship.
Our governance support includes helping you:
Administrative outsourcing is a complex business. It involves multiple systems, population groups, plan structures, procedures and careful data management. No matter which outsourcing provider you choose, service issues can arise that seem nearly impossible to solve. Your staff and the service provider may point to problems sending or receiving data — often implicating the other party. Or worse, both parties may be unable to identify the root cause of problems. All the while, your customers could be experiencing less-then-stellar service. All of this takes a toll on the relationship, which ultimately may lead to a costly change.
But you’ve invested time and energy with that provider, honing a solution that meets your company’s specific needs. Before you jeopardize that investment by terminating the relationship, consider a service review led by herronpalmer.
Our consultants have decades of experience in benefits operation from all vantage points—as employer, provider and consultant. We have proven processes for:
The result of a service review is a clearer path to improved service quality and higher confidence that you are receiving the services you contracted—and often an improved relationship with your provider’s account team. An experienced third party, such as herronpalmer, can make all the difference in getting to the bottom of service issues and rebuilding the foundation for success.
You opt for a new sourcing arrangement in order to achieve objectives such as improved quality, savings and simplification. Then the mere process of implementing the new solution introduces complexity and risk, drains resources and overshadows other priorities.
We’re here to help. Whether you’re outsourcing for the first time, changing your arrangement with your current provider or taking services in-house, herronpalmer can provide seasoned professionals to alleviate the burden on your staff.
We can manage the project or provide guidance to help you achieve desired results. Consider us an extension of your own staff, ready to take on any function of your project management office (PMO), such as:
All of these activities require time and expertise and can divert your staff from focusing on the overall goal of the project. The benefit professionals of herronpalmer can provide guidance and support to reduce that burden and improve your outcome.
Looking for a third party to help evaluate the private exchange market? You’re in good company. Given the complexity of the decision, more and more employers are turning to herronpalmer for insights on exchange options — and for strategic perspective on whether and how to adopt them.
Exchange solutions span the entire employer population — from privately managed marketplaces for active employees, to retiree arrangements that leverage the Medicare infrastructure, to solutions that utilize portions of the public healthcare exchange market. Determining the best solution, and service provider, for each segment of your population can be a daunting task.
What’s more, many of the prominent retiree and active exchange providers in today’s market are the same firms that are attempting to advise clients on the best exchange, creating a conflict of interest when it comes to objectively selecting a solution.
All this underscores the importance of an educated, objective advisor to assist in your search for the exchange that best fits your population and budget.
That’s where herronpalmer comes in. Our exchange consulting services include:
herronpalmer's advice is informed by real-world data and experience. We collect, analyze and publish data on virtually every aspect of the benefits administration business—a business where we've been driving successful outcomes for decades. Based on our experience with many of the world's largest employers, a wide range of services and all the leading providers, we've developed trusted approaches that enable plan sponsors to avert or overcome difficulties and achieve successful results.
At the same time, herronpalmer does not believe in cookie cutter solutions. Through open and honest collaboration with clients, providers and other colleagues, we discover what is unique in each situation. Then we offer thoughtful, creative guidance that respects those unique needs.