Podcast: Request for Proposals (RFPs) with Richard Peace

As the song says, “You can’t always get what you want.” You might find, though, that a product RFP can get what you need when it comes to employee benefits.

A Product RFP (Request for Proposal) is the distribution of a request for product proposals from carriers, with the hope that among those proposals is a product that delivers the right benefits for the right price. FBS finds that most of the time, with the added expertise of an FBS Consultant, the desired outcome is within reach.

An FBS consultant with plenty of experience pouring over proposals is Richard Peace, who takes us through the RFP process in this podcast.

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

What information is needed to release a Product RFP? (3:38) “Number one is loss data. We want to have 2 years of loss data, to make it credible. Number two is a full demographic census of every employee at the employer, and number three is plan outlines and contracts.”

Consultants look at many features when analyzing proposed plans, but a surprising emphasis for medical, dental, and vision plans is network. (5:14) “You really want to focus on the network, because if you have an employer group out there and, let’s say, you have 5,000 employees, and those 5,000 employees are all going to maybe 35 dentists. Well, you might get a bid for a carrier and maybe the carrier is really competitive…but their network doesn’t line up, well that’s a big red flag…That’s a lot of disruption.”

How long do carriers typically have to respond to an RFP? (14:30) “We don’t like to leave an RFP out…less than three weeks.

After the export from the sourcing platform is loaded, how do consultants review proposals? (16:35) “I will open the document. I’ll do a precursory kind of overview…Then after that high-level overview. I’ll take some time, typically 24-48 hours to actually organize the proposals based on our interpretation of them.” He goes on to say, “Our goal is to have all of the proposals in an easy-to-read format [and] ranked, based on how we feel they are in competitiveness.”

How long does the Product RFP process take for current clients? (20:00) “I think a good window is probably 5-7 weeks, for the whole process to take place.” New clients may have additional time that is necessary for data collection, “I would say another week at most.”

What is the goal of the Product RFP? (22:40) “The goal is to ensure that our clients are offering the absolute best products that offer the best coverage, at the lowest premiums, from carriers who are good at paying claims, who are innovative, and who are forward-looking.”