Empyrean Adds Randy Alvarez to Expanding Sales Team as Director of Business Development in the Northeast Region

Empyrean Adds Randy Alvarez to Expanding Sales Team as Director of Business Development in the Northeast Region

Houston, TX. [March 18, 2022] Empyrean, (www.goempyrean.com), a leading technology and service-centric employee benefits administration provider, has announced that Randy Alvarez has joined the organization as Director of Business Development. In this role, Alvarez will concentrate on the continued expansion of Empyrean’s presence in the Northeast, developing employer and broker relationships in this region focusing on groups above 5,000 benefits eligible employees.

“Randy joins Empyrean at a time of substantial growth, and we are thrilled to kick off 2022 with the expansion of our sales team on the East Coast,” said Chris Rossi, Empyrean’s VP of Sales. “With an exceptional 20 year track record as a top sales performer, Randy not only brings experience, but an extensive understanding of the employee benefits and HR technology sector. We are eager to leverage his expertise as we continue to strengthen Empyrean’s presence across the Northeast.”

Alvarez has spent the last decade of his career at ADP in the PEO division in New England, where he worked as both a District Manager and Sales Lead. There, he helped businesses evaluate their HRIS technology and employee benefits strategy. Prior to that, he was a vital member of the sales team at Quadrant Software and WorkHuman.

“Having worked closely with clients in the HR technology and benefits space for over a decade, I understand what an important role technology and service play in creating positive employee experiences,” said Alvarez. “With our innovative benefits administration technology and service-first approach, I’m excited to show employers the value of Empyrean’s platform and partnership.”

Alvarez joins Empyrean during a time of accelerated growth, as the organization continues to add new clients in the Northeast and across all U.S. markets. Amidst this growth, Empyrean has developed new benefits administration technology, including COVID-19 vaccination tracking and attestation capabilities, enhanced ACA reporting functionality, and Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

In late 2021, Empyrean also launched its new website, reflecting the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures by connecting their employees to life-enriching benefits.

Alvarez attended Rutgers University, and resides in Swansea, Massachusetts. He stays involved in his local community by coaching youth sports and supporting local charities.

About Empyrean

Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 4.6 million participants across the U.S. rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidiary of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Empyrean’s 2022 Benefit Trends Report

Empyrean’s 2022 Benefit Trends Report

As we enter the third year of pandemic-era life, it is clear that the way American workers view their employers, benefit programs, and overall workplaces has changed, creating both a significant and lasting impact on the HR and benefits space.

Our 2022 Benefit Trends Report uncovers the year’s top five trends influencing the state of employee benefits, sharing both quantitative data and expert insights that demonstrate how the many reactionary shifts, once thought to be temporary, in all likelihood may be permanent as the workplace continues to be forever reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some of the key insights and takeaways from our full report.

1. Total Wellbeing is the New Normal

Benefit election data and employee behavior show that today’s employees have come to both expect and demand a broader range of supplemental benefit offerings from their employer, making an increased focus on total employee wellness a significant benefit trend again this year.

Enrollment data collected from the over 4.6 million participants accessing their benefits through the Empyrean platform shows that employees continue to gravitate towards supplemental offerings, selecting benefits that align with the changes they have experienced in their own lives. Some notable shifts include:

  • Shifts away from office-centric benefit enrollments, including a 16.58% decrease in commuter benefit participation
  • Enrollments that reflect remote and hybrid work arrangements
  • 56.37% increase in pet care benefit enrollments

As our report explains in further detail, Empyrean’s experts forecast that employers will continue to trend towards taking a more holistic approach to their benefit offerings due to employee and market pressure to do so.

2. Improved Consumer Education is Driving Adoption, Employee Vulnerability is Accelerating the Trend

Since the introduction of the HDHP, employers have leaned on supplemental benefits as a way to round out traditional programs, and plan sponsors have spent significant resources educating their employees on why enrollment in these supplemental programs can be advantageous.

Data suggests that this education has started to take hold. Whether employees are looking for a better work-life balance, financial planning support, or new ways to cope with stress, the adoption of voluntary benefits is improving.

Some of the enrollment increases discussed in our report include:

  • Hospital Indemnity (9.8% increase)
  • Accident Benefit (6.95% increase)
  • Critical Illness (5.85% increase)

After two years of pandemic life, it may come as no surprise that more employees are enrolling in benefits that insure for catastrophic events, perhaps recognizing their own physical and financial vulnerabilities during the public health crisis.

Download our full report to learn more about both continued and emerging trends related to mental health and employee burnout, and predictions that employees will continue to lean towards benefits that round out their traditional medical benefit programs.

3. Increased Focus on Using Benefits to Attract & Retain Talent

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 47.4 million U.S. employees voluntarily left their jobs in 2021, making the need for improved attraction and retention through benefits an emerging trend in 2022.

The volume of quits this year has made it clear that employers who do not meet the evolving demands of employees can expect to see high levels of turnover. The Great Resignation has had a tremendous impact on health and welfare benefits, increasing the need for employers to rethink their benefits strategy and better demonstrate the value of their benefits program to both future and existing employees.

As described in our report, we predict that as the war for talent continues, HR teams will need to work together to better understand what their employees’ benefits needs actually are, and create a positive journey throughout the employee lifecycle, starting with the candidate experience and communications.

Traditional, supplemental, and non-monetary benefits will play a starring role in an employer’s ability to differentiate themselves against the rest of the market. Delivery of a positive employee experience, from candidacy through termination, will be a key driver in an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent.

4. Increased Need to Deliver & Communicate a Positive Benefits Experience 

While employers are working hard to develop a strong benefits strategy that combats attrition and contributes to positive company cultures, equal effort must be made to ensure employees have positive experiences when enrolling in and utilizing these benefits, as research has shown employees will leave an organization for a role offering a more competitive benefits package.

The problem for many employers, however, is demonstrating that their benefits program is in fact valuable.

In a 2021 Voya consumer survey, one-third of respondents reported that they did not fully understand any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period. Despite materials and support available during open enrollment and throughout the year, many employees lack a full understanding of their benefit coverage and how to make cost-effective selections that are sized appropriately for their unique needs.

Providing employees with meaningful, year-round benefits education continues to be a major challenge for employers. Only 19 percent of organizations report that they believe their employees have a high-level understanding of their benefit options and elections, and 88 percent of employers from the same study say their main employee communications goal is to help participants better understand and utilize their benefit offerings.

More and more employers are relying on decision support technology to help employees navigate employer-sponsored health and wellness benefit offerings through an individualized lens, enabling better education, selection, and utilization outcomes.

As described in our report, going forward we expect technology to play an even bigger role in the employee benefits experience, with employers leveraging predictive analytics and real-life claims data to drive benefits engagement. These platforms provide enrollment recommendation intelligence tied directly to the claims data of the individual enrollee, creating entirely customized forecasts based on real-life prior events.

Since the enrollment recommendations are tailored specifically for the employee, it is clear that the employer is not trying to drive them towards a lower cost plan that will save company dollars. Instead, the employer is able to demonstrate their commitment to providing the employee with benefit programs that meet the employee where they are in support of their total health and wellness.

5. Continued Developments Surrounding Benefits Regulatory Compliance

Employer-sponsored benefit plans have been historically subject to a significant and ever-changing list of regulatory compliance standards, however, the sheer volume and complexity of legislation governing the employment law space has been a continued trend since the start of the pandemic – and one that can be expected for years to come.

Our report outlines some of the most critical new and shifting regulations employers need to know, including trends that go beyond compliance standards to ensure positive employee experiences.

Looking Forward

It is critical that employers and benefit leaders take a step back from the “survival” modes employed since 2020 to understand the future of benefits and how to shift go-forward benefits strategies for both organizational and employee success.

Benefit leaders can conclude that the majority of benefits-related changes made by organizations in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic are here to stay. Employer-sponsored health and welfare programs have been forever redefined to focus on mental and financial wellness benefits that support the whole employee in all facets of life, both inside and outside of work.

This year, employers have the opportunity to think differently about their benefit strategies to drive healthy and happy workplace cultures. As more businesses recognize the connections between benefits, employee experience, and positive organizational outcomes, leaders will continue to level up their benefits offering to build culture through benefits.

For additional data and insights tied to this year’s benefit trends, download your copy of Empyrean’s 2022 Benefit Trends Report today.

The Critical Role of Supplemental Benefits in a Go-Forward Benefits Strategy

The Critical Role of Supplemental Benefits in a Go-Forward Benefits Strategy

Webinar presented by Dr. Kristin Tugman, VP Health + Productivity, Prudential | Desta Millner, Empyrean | Melanie Haniph, HR Consultant. The COVID-19 pandemic has created physical, mental, and financial challenges that American workers have never faced before, causing employers to quickly shift their benefit strategies to one in support of total employee wellness. A recent study conducted by Empyrean shows that this is a trend that is expected to continue, driven in part by employee demand. Join our expert panel as they discuss why supplemental benefits will be a critical part of any employer’s post-pandemic employee benefits strategy. 

HR’s Growing Role in Data Privacy & Protection

HR’s Growing Role in Data Privacy & Protection

Insights and Advice from an Empyrean Expert

The role of our HR and benefits leaders continues to evolve and expand, and now our human resources teams are at the forefront of the battle to ensure both company and employee data remains protected and secure in our increasingly digitized world.

Gone are the days when only certain subgroups of an employee population relied on technology to perform their jobs. Today, nearly every American worker touches technology in some form on a daily basis, putting an increasing burden on HR teams to manage and train our evolving workforce on the best practices for ensuring data protection and security.

HR professionals are tasked with ensuring that employees follow IT and security policies and protocols to protect not only the company they work for and the customers they serve, but also themselves. Following the trend of supporting total employee health and wellness, more and more employers are offering identity theft protection as a voluntary benefit. However, an analysis of Empyrean’s enrollment data shows that only 13.8% of those employees offered the benefit enroll.

While we may tend to focus on highly-publicized and wide-spread security and data breaches impacting huge numbers of consumers, a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that just eight percent of all data breaches are caused by external cyber-attacks. Instead, the overwhelming majority of data breaches are caused by human error.

While experts recognize that it is a huge undertaking, they caution that HR professionals need to partner with IT to concentrate efforts on building a workplace culture where all employees are playing an active role in keeping data safe and secure, including instilling a sense of accountability across teams to ensure that data security needs are a priority.

In recognition of Data Privacy Day, we sat down with our Senior Security Analyst, Joel Tristani, to discuss the importance of data privacy and protection, including how we protect our own client data here at Empyrean.

Let’s start with the basics. Why is data privacy so crucial, and what should employees and organizations know about it?

Organizations are entrusted with handling personal data, and must take all necessary precautions to ensure it remains protected while in their care, including while it is being stored, processed, or is in transit to another authorized party.

There are many reasons why an employee might want to keep data about their identity, health, finances, or other matters private, and it is every person’s right to decide who has access to their personal data, and how it should and should not be used.

How can employers help employees safeguard data privacy?

There are a myriad of ways that employers can support safe and effective cyber hygiene. At Empyrean, we provide security awareness training to all of our employees, which includes important tips and tricks on how to look out for various red flags when using email, browsing websites, and operating computers and other devices.

We encourage all employers to ensure your employees are equipped with the proper tools, resources, and guides to help them handle their own data, and their clients’ data, in the safest, most secure way possible.

How does Empyrean protect our own client data?

At Empyrean, the protection of client data is a top priority.

Client data is always encrypted while at rest within our systems and during transfer in from a client or out to an authorized partner. In addition, before it’s transferred through an encrypted pathway, data is further encrypted at the file level to ensure that only the owner of that data can decrypt and access it, even after it reaches its final destination.

Access to client data while in our care is limited to only the client team members that require access in order to service the account. Beyond secure data handling practices, we maintain a robust security control environment and multi-layered defense strategy to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our own and our clients’ information assets.

What’s your best advice for everyday data privacy protection?

A quick tip for everyday data privacy protection is to enable multi-factor or two-factor authentication for bank, insurance, and other websites that store your personal data.

And please – I cannot stress this enough – do not re-use passwords! If one of your accounts is compromised, all of your accounts with the same email and password combination will also be at risk. Multi/two-factor authentication mitigates this to some extent, but your best bet is to create different, strong passwords that will help protect you against cyber threats. Establish your own multi-layered defense, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Whether you’re an employee trying to protect your own personal data, or an organization safeguarding client information, everyone has a responsibility to ensure sensitive data is sent, stored, used, and viewed safely and appropriately.

About Joel Tristani, Senior Security Analyst at Empyrean

Joel joined the Empyrean team in 2021, and plays a pivotal role as a member of the organization’s IT and security teams. His decades-long IT career includes time spent at corporations like Widespread Technologies and BCI, as well as time spent at municipalities and within the private consulting space.

Joel earned a B.S. from Hodges University, as well as a M.S. in Cybersecurity from DePaul University. He resides in Tucson, Arizona.

How Decision Support Technology Can Fuel a Better Employee Experience

How Decision Support Technology Can Fuel a Better Employee Experience

Read our Decision Support Guide to learn about the top 5 factors to consider when evaluating recommendation engine platforms. Understand how predictive analytics can help employees understand future risks and costs, and what to look out for when comparing platforms to ensure you get the best fit for your needs.

The Changing Role of the Strategic Benefits Leader

The Changing Role of the Strategic Benefits Leader

Since the start of the pandemic, company benefits have played an increasingly important role in helping organizations protect the safety, wellness, and health of their employees. This is increasingly the case, not only for physical wellness, but organizations now have greater awareness of mental health and financial wellness impacts on their staff given recent challenges and mass resignations.

2022: a perfect storm for benefits

The dominance of remote/hybrid work environments also opens up new opportunities for benefits functions to offer new benefit types that could be seen as tangible expressions of a company’s culture. Therefore, If employee welfare, attraction, and retention are not top of the list of your key strategic priorities for 2022, they should be. Not only are organizations and HR functions adapting to new ways of working and changing business environments, they are also facing the fact that employees have started to “vote with their feet”, demanding a better work-life balance. We are experiencing the largest wave of mass resignations seen in most of our lifetimes. This is also not helped by the retirement of baby boomers and an aging workforce. 2022 is the year to act, and these challenges also offer a great opportunity for benefits teams to relook at the role they can play in strengthening the resilience of companies and their workforce.

Katie McCabe Joins Growing Empyrean Sales Team as Strategic Director, Business Development for New York

Katie McCabe Joins Growing Empyrean Sales Team as Strategic Director, Business Development for New York

Houston, TX. [Jan. 19, 2022] Empyrean, (www.goempyrean.com), a leading employee benefits administration service and technology provider, has announced the addition of Katie McCabe to their rapidly expanding sales team. In this newly created role, McCabe will focus on the continued development of Empyrean’s presence throughout New York State, working to build employer, broker, and carrier relationships focusing on groups from 1,500-5,000 benefits eligible.

“Katie is one of several key sales hires we have added to the Empyrean sales team over the last few quarters,” said Chris Rossi, Empyrean’s VP Sales for the eastern region. “She is a fantastic addition to our team, and is well respected in the NY/NJ marketplace for her leadership and collaboration with the clients and broker partners she has worked with throughout her career.”

An industry veteran, McCabe has with more than 17 years of diverse experience with organizations including Emerson Reid & Co. (a subsidiary of USI) and The Standard, and most recently served as a Premier Account Executive for Prudential.

“I’m excited to be joining such a dynamic team during this time of growth for Empyrean,” added McCabe. “After spending much of my career on the carrier side, I have witnessed firsthand how critical administrative platforms are for employers and how pitfalls can create significant challenges, derailing the execution of benefit strategies. In addition to the exceptional company culture, the capabilities Empyrean brings to the marketplace are not only impressive, but also focus on the future of work to give clients and their employees much needed peace of mind.”

The addition of McCabe comes during a year of great headcount and client growth for Empyrean, including a concentrated expansion in the northeastern U.S. Much of this growth has been fueled by new technology enhancements and rollouts, including COVID-19 vaccination tracking capabilities, enhanced ACA reporting functionality, and Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

In late 2021, Empyrean also launched its new website, reflecting the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures through benefits.

McCabe earned a B.A. from the State University of New York College at Oswego, and resides in New York City.

About Empyrean

Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3.6 million participants across the U.S. rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Empyrean Announces EVOLVE/22 – April 6-8 in Nashville, TN

Empyrean Announces EVOLVE/22 – April 6-8 in Nashville, TN

Empyrean is excited to announce that this year’s EVOLVE conference will be held in beautiful Nashville, TN from April 6-8, 2022.

The theme for EVOLVE/22 is “Building Culture Through Benefits”, with an educational agenda focused on the strong connection between the role benefits can play in building company culture and the positive organizational outcomes gained from employee health and wellness.

Event participants will hear from HR industry leaders, benefit practitioners, and peers during our dynamic educational sessions, and there will also be plenty of networking windows and opportunities to explore the historic city of Nashville and its exciting music scene.

DATE: April 6-8, 2022
LOCATION: Nashville, TN

Event registration will open in the coming weeks, and the full event agenda and conference details will be released at that time as well. For now, we invite all of our clients to mark your calendars for this engaging event!

Empyrean Adds Rob Veatch as Director, Business Development in the Central Region

Empyrean Adds Rob Veatch as Director, Business Development in the Central Region

Houston, TX. [Nov 2, 2021] Leading employee benefits administration service and technology provider, Empyrean (www.goempyrean.com), has announced that Rob Veatch has joined the growing organization as Director, Business Development, supporting the central region. In this role, Veatch will focus on the continued development of Empyrean’s presence in the Upper Midwest, expanding on broker and client relationships in this area.

“Rob joins us with an impressive background on the carrier side of the business,” said Stephanie Haney, Empyrean’s VP, Sales. “His insights and experience in solving for the benefit strategy needs of his clients, brokers, and carrier partners will be incredibly impactful for employers across the Upper Midwest.”

An industry veteran in the employee benefits space, Veatch previously served as Regional Sales Executive for leading vision benefits carrier, Versant Health. He also spent much of his employee benefits career with PreferredOne as Director of Sales, and with Minneapolis-based HealthPartners.

“Rob will be a great addition to our Central Region sales team as he brings Empyrean’s innovative technology and solutions to help employees and their families when they need their benefits the most,” Haney added.

“I have always looked to improve the lives of those around me in any way that I can, and Empyrean helps me do that by educating and engaging employees throughout the year to help them get the most out of the benefits offered by their employer,” said Veatch.

Veatch joins Empyrean at a time of strategic growth for the organization, with concentrated expansion not only in the central region, but across all U.S. markets. Earlier this year, Empyrean launched its new website, which reflects the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures through benefits. The company has also rolled out several new technology capabilities in 2021, including COVID-19 vaccination tracking and attestation capabilities, enhanced ACA reporting functionality, and Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

Veatch earned a B.A. from Luther College. He stays involved in his local community by supporting local youth activities programs and charities like the Special Olympics, and is a decades-long donor with Memorial Blood Centers in the Twin Cities area.

About Empyrean

Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3.6 million participants across the U.S. rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Kelly Clark Joins Empyrean as Chief Information & Technology Officer

Kelly Clark Joins Empyrean as Chief Information & Technology Officer

Houston, TX. [Oct. 12, 2021] Empyrean, (www.goempyrean.com), a leading benefits administration technology platform and service provider, has announced that industry veteran Kelly Clark has joined the organization as Chief Information & Technology Officer.

A proven technology leader in the HR and employee benefits space with vast experience driving business transformation through IT modernization, Clark will oversee Empyrean’s future software engineering, artificial intelligence (AI) expansion, infrastructure development, business intelligence (BI) and data analytics, and innovation research initiatives at a strategic level.

“Empyrean has always been focused on bringing forward leading technology solutions to support our clients’ most complex needs and enable our robust service delivery model,” said Empyrean’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Wolfe. “Kelly’s background and experience will help us continue to drive technology solutions that support our customers’ future challenges and objectives while ensuring we provide the best tools to support our service delivery organization.”

Prior to joining the Empyrean team, Kelly held several C-level positions at organizations like Maximus and OptumHealth, and most recently served as the Chief Information & Digital Officer at Alight Solutions. There, he led the group’s digital transformation to solve highly complex business and client needs while improving technology capabilities and overall operational excellence.

“Kelly has had a successful track record leading the technology organizations for successful startups as well as Fortune 100 and 500 companies,” added Wolfe. “Empyrean is focused on continuing to successfully scale our business, providing innovative technology and service solutions that support the unique needs of our employer clients, and providing growth opportunities for our employees.”

Last month, Empyrean launched its new website which reflects the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures through benefits. By connecting their employees to life-enriching benefits and making stronger connections between the important role benefits play in building a company culture, Empyrean believes that companies can achieve positive organizational outcomes tied to total employee health and wellness.

“I wanted to join an organization where I could make a difference, and Empyrean’s focus on innovative technologies to improve people’s everyday experiences and drive better outcomes was crucial in my decision making process,” said Clark. “I am humbled and honored to join Empyrean at such a pivotal time and lead the IT team as we support the future of benefits administration technology.”

Empyrean’s focus on supporting total employee health and wellness has driven the company’s product roadmap as the organization continues to develop and roll out enhanced employee-centric technologies, services, and strategic carrier partnerships designed to improve employee experiences and strengthen employer brands. Some of the most impactful product rollouts this year have included new vaccination tracking features, enhanced ACA reporting capabilities, and the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

Kelly earned a B.A. and Master’s Degree from the University of Manitoba. He was awarded Large Company CIO of the Year honors in 2012 by the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, and stays very involved in philanthropic and charitable endeavors through his support of organizations including the Feed my Starving Children, United Way, and Toys 4 Tots. Kelly resides with his family in the Minneapolis area.

About Empyrean
Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3.6 million participants across the U.S. rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Empyrean Launches New Brand Messaging, Enhanced Corporate Website Focused on the Critical Role Benefits Play in Building Positive Workplace Cultures

Empyrean Launches New Brand Messaging, Enhanced Corporate Website Focused on the Critical Role Benefits Play in Building Positive Workplace Cultures

Houston, TX. [Oct. 11, 2021] Empyrean (www.goempyrean.com), a leading benefits administration technology platform and service provider, announces the launch of its new website and brand messaging aligned with the organization’s mission to help employers create positive workplace cultures by connecting their employees to life-enriching benefits.

Empyrean’s new brand message makes a strong connection between the role benefits play in building a company’s culture and positive organizational outcomes tied to total employee health and wellness. The brand strategy reflects Empyrean’s product roadmap, as the company continues to develop and roll out employee-centric technologies and services along with strategic carrier and service partnerships designed to improve employee experiences and strengthen employer brands.

“Our commitment to building culture through benefits challenges us to continue to think beyond simply managing the complexities around benefits administration,” said Empyrean’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Wolfe. “How we connect with our clients’ participants, the experience they have using our technology and interacting with our people, are all critical to supporting them as they get the most out of their benefits – both today and in the future.”

Jim Priebe, Empyrean’s Chief Strategy Officer, says that while the organization has always been positioned to support an employee’s ability to better understand, access, and utilize their benefits program, Empyrean is now fully embracing its role in helping employers to improve their employee experience.

“The pandemic has shifted the thinking of many employers, putting a renewed focus on employee experience and employee wellbeing,” Priebe states. “We recognize our ability to improve benefit engagement not only at enrollment, but also on a year-round basis, helping employers connect the dots between building a strong company culture and the important role benefits play in making that a reality. It was important for us to make sure our brand message reflects this.”

“Empyrean’s innovative platform and outstanding service delivery have always set us apart, and we are taking the steps to move the needle even further,” added Priebe. “Now more than ever, we continue see clients and the market coming to us to not only solve their core administration needs, but to also find a partner that can support their benefit strategies and improve employee engagement.”

The launch of Empyrean’s new website and brand positioning comes during a year of significant growth for the organization with the expansion of headcount across all divisions and within the executive leadership team. Much of this growth can be tied to Empyrean’s rapidly expanding client base and roll out of several new technologies and services, including new vaccination tracking features, enhanced ACA reporting capabilities, and the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

About Empyrean

Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3.6 million participants across the U.S. & Canada rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Empyrean Benefit Solutions Adds Chris Melanson to Growing Sales Group

Empyrean Benefit Solutions Adds Chris Melanson to Growing Sales Group

Houston, TX. [Oct. 5, 2021] Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. (www.goempyrean.com), a leading technology and service-focused employee benefits administration provider, has announced that Chris Melanson has joined the organization as Director, Business Development. In this role, Melanson will focus on the continued development of Empyrean’s presence in the eastern U.S., building employer and broker relationships in this region.

“Chris is one of several industry veterans we have added to the team in recent months,” said Chris Rossi, Empyrean’s VP, Sales. “He has a strong understanding of the employee benefits market with an expertise in ancillary coverage, and we are excited to leverage his vast experience as we continue to expand our east coast reach.”

The majority of Melanson’s decade long career has been spent in the insurance and benefits space, including several years in sales roles of escalating responsibility with both Sun Life Financial and Guardian Life.

“Benefits administration is an important point of focus today for human resources professionals and employer groups,” Melanson added. “I’m excited to be a part of the Empyrean team and look forward to contributing to our growth in the northeast.”

Melanson joins Empyrean at a time of great growth for the organization, which includes a concentrated expansion along the east coast as the group continues to add new clients in this market. Throughout this growth, Empyrean has continued to enhance and roll out new benefits administration technology, including new COVID-19 vaccination tracking and attestation capabilities, enhanced ACA reporting functionality, and the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

Melanson earned a B.S. from Nichols College.

About Empyrean
Since 2006, Empyrean has provided employers of varying size, industry, and benefit plan complexity with the innovative technology and best in class service necessary to accelerate their benefits strategies and bring their benefit programs to life. Empyrean’s platform and services were designed to create connected employee benefit experiences that enrich lives, strengthen employer brands, and improve workplace cultures.

Today, more than 3 million participants across the U.S. rely on Empyrean’s cutting-edge systems and best in class support teams to inform and guide their benefit enrollment and utilization decisions. Focused on total employee health and wellness, Empyrean is dedicated to delivering a scalable and tailored benefits experience for all employees and their families by combining innovative technology with employee-centric services to empower participants to better understand, access, and engage with their benefit programs not just at enrollment time, but on a year-round basis.

Empyrean’s platforms and services empower employees to not only better understand the value of the benefit programs offered to them, but to then connect with these benefits in a way that drives better outcomes from themselves, their families, and their organization.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

Empyrean’s Stephanie Haney Promoted to Post of VP Sales, Central Region

Empyrean’s Stephanie Haney Promoted to Post of VP Sales, Central Region

Houston, TX. [July 22, 2021] Leading employee benefits administration technology and service provider Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. (www.goempyrean.com) has announced the promotion of Stephanie Haney to the post of VP Sales, Central Region. Haney previously served as Director, Business Development for the organization.

In this newly created role, Haney will lead an enterprise sales team to continue the development of Empyrean’s presence in the central U.S. This move comes at a time of explosive growth for the benefits administration platform, tied closely to the launch of the group’s Pilot+ claims-based decision support technology, as well as shifting trends in the HR and employee benefits space.

“I am thrilled to have Stephanie join the sales leadership team at such a critical time in our organization’s history,” said Empyrean’s Chief Strategy Office, Jim Priebe. “I am confident that her guidance, sales expertise, and extensive industry knowledge will be incredibly valuable as we continue to expand in the central region.”

“Stephanie is deeply committed to helping clients, brokers, and carriers harness solutions to improve their benefits engagement strategies and drive better outcomes,” Priebe added. “She has always delivered outstanding results for each channel she has served.”

With more than 20 years of industry experience, Haney previously held advancing sales roles at Assurant Employee Benefits, The Hartford, and BeneTrac before joining Empyrean in 2017.

“I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead Empyrean’s Central Region sales team,” said Haney. “While we continue to drive Empyrean’s growth by delivering innovative technology with a service-first approach to our clients, brokers, and carrier partners, our success is ultimately defined by our ability to connect employees to life-enriching benefits when they need them most.”

Haney earned a B.S. from the University of Florida, and resides with her family in Grand Rapids, MI.

About Empyrean
Empyrean manages employee health and welfare benefits programs, combining the industry’s most modern, client-adaptive, and configurable benefits technology platform with expert, responsive service. Empyrean provides market-leading enrollment, eligibility management, ACA reporting, and other plan administration services that empowers employers, insurance consultants, and healthcare exchanges to meet ever-evolving benefit challenges. Founded in 2006, Empyrean’s integrated platform services over 3 million annual participants across a wide spectrum of employee population sizes, industry, and complexities.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

 

Do Your Employees Understand Your Benefit Programs and Offerings?

Do Your Employees Understand Your Benefit Programs and Offerings?

Six Ways to Better Educate Employees About Their Benefit Enrollment Options

Each year, HR and benefit teams put Herculean efforts into designing and building benefit plans that best support their employee populations. And it’s no wonder why – robust health and wellness benefit programs are linked to better employee and attraction outcomes and overall company performance.

Despite these efforts and best intentions to deliver a high-performing employee benefits program, many employees are still unaware of the benefit offerings available to them. According to a 2021 Voya consumer survey, 35% of survey participants reported that they did not fully understand any of the employee benefits they enrolled in during their most recent open enrollment period, with 54% of millennial employees falling into that category. Employees are thirsting for better benefits education, as 66% of survey respondents said that they want their employer to help them better understand and navigate their benefit enrollments.

Unfortunately, a lack of benefits education and awareness can have dire consequences to both the employee and employer. Employees may opt for more expensive plans because they do not understand how a less costly option may better suit their coverage needs, and they may avoid some supplemental benefit offerings due to a lack of awareness of how these programs work or that they event exist.

On the employer side, failure to properly educate employees (and their dependents) on benefit offerings and usage can be both financially burdensome and a major miss when it comes to employer branding and employee experience. Employers who neglect to take the steps necessary to inform employees about their benefits demonstrate both a lack of employee support and an uncaring company culture, no matter how generous an employee benefit plan design may be.

So, how can employers educate their employees about their benefits? Empyrean’s recent research report, “Top 5 Benefit Trends for 2021,” highlights the growing shift towards closing these employee education and communication gaps through the use of decision support tools and other methodologies.

Here are six critical steps employers should consider to better help employees understand and identify the benefit options that will most effectively meet their health, wellness, and overall coverage needs while making the most of their enrollments on a year-round basis.

1. Create a Benchmark to Measure and Address Gaps in Employee Benefits Knowledge

In order to fix a broken benefits education system and measure future success, employers must first take stock to understand current knowledge levels and where gaps have traditionally occurred. Conducting periodic benefit satisfaction surveys and employee focus groups can provide critical data and insights surrounding your employees’ benefits knowledge and needs. By asking targeted questions, you can better understand employee knowledge levels, common misconceptions, overall frustrations, and where more education is needed.

Another way to gauge levels of employee benefits knowledge is to carefully monitor and audit benefit enrollments and usage. If the majority of employees select certain benefits options, rejecting those which may be a better fit, it may be due to a lack of understanding rather than a specific preference for one option over another.

Creating these initial benchmarks can not only help fuel an organization’s go-forward benefits education and communications strategy, but will enable the employer to measure and report on the success of new initiatives.

2. Communicate Benefits Information Through Diverse Channels

Employees differ in the ways they prefer to learn about and synthesize information, and benefits are no exception. While some employees prefer digesting benefits materials and updates during in-person interactions, others respond better to a fully digital experience where they can access benefit resources on an on-demand basis.

To support the many different learning and communication styles within your workforce, it is critical to communicate benefits information using a variety of media. Employers should consider utilizing a combination of the following methods:

  • In-person or virtual benefit workshops and enrollment meetings
  • Detailed benefits handbooks and plan summaries
  • Online technologies, including decision support tools
  • Customized online benefits microsites
  • Dedicated space on the company intranet
  • Individualized telephone support provided by an internal team or outsourced third-party

3. Simplify Complex Benefits Concepts and Terminologies

It may be difficult for employees to understand, navigate, and best utilize their benefit offerings if they lack foundational knowledge about core benefits concepts and terms. A UnitedHealthcare consumer survey found that only 9 percent of respondents understood the meaning of four basic insurance terms—health plan premium, deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum. If employees struggle with common benefits terminology, they may also have a harder time grasping how some insurance and savings plans work.

By educating employees about key benefit concepts and terms, employers can improve overall benefits literacy and make it easier for employees to select right-sized coverage options that work best for them and for their dependents. You can support employees in this area by considering the development and rollout of the following resources:

  • A glossary of benefit terms and concepts using simplified definitions and easy to understand examples
  • Videos and other digital resources that cover benefit terminologies in simplistic terms
  • In-person or virtual benefits workshops and education sessions that occur throughout the year

4. Implement an Active Annual Enrollment

Outside of a qualifying life event, annual enrollment periods are the only time employees can re-evaluate and enroll in employer-sponsored benefit programs. Due to these enrollment timing limitations, many employers utilize a passive open enrollment strategy to ensure there is no loss in coverage for employees who may miss the enrollment window. However, employers may be missing critical opportunities by employing a passive approach.

“We see that our clients who have implemented an active open enrollment see better results as it relates to the selection of cost-effective, right-sized coverage as well as the engagement with and utilization of those plans,” says Desta Millner, Strategic Accounts Advisor at Empyrean.

Millner also points out that employers with an active annual enrollment gain an opportunity to re-demonstrate the competitiveness and value of their benefits offering.

“Empyrean believes that benefits are the most tangible expression of a company’s culture and truly demonstrate the value an organization places on its people. Employers with a passive annual enrollment miss out on the chance to further bolster their employer brand and create that goodwill that drives positive employee experiences and loyalty.”

5. Utilize Decision Support Tools to Provide Employees with Right-Sized Benefits Recommendations

Decision support technology helps employees navigate employer-sponsored health and wellness benefit offerings through an individualized lens, enabling better education, selection, and utilization outcomes.

“Decision support technology takes a holistic approach to open enrollment,” says Jim Priebe, Chief Strategy Officer at Empyrean. “It educates your employees to see the bigger picture of how their benefits work together to meet their needs, and treats them as the whole people they are – not just a sum of parts.”

These recommendation engines, specifically those which integrate real-life claims data, can drive benefits engagement as the employee is now guided through the enrollment process and can see which plans and programs are right for them based on their individual needs, health and wellness outlook, and overall circumstance. Through predictive analytics, employees can better conceptualize which programs will be most impactful for them and their family from a financial and coverage standpoint.

Decision support technology can also help employees better understand the overall worth of their benefit plan by providing a transparent view of their employer’s financial contributions to these programs.

6. Make Employee Benefits a Year-Round Conversation Beyond Just Annual Enrollment Periods

A Unum poll of U.S. workers found that most employees spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their benefits prior to open enrollment. For many, those 30 minutes may be the only time of the year they interact with their benefits choices in a meaningful way.

To drive benefit education and engagement, employee benefits communication should occur year-round and not only be limited to the open enrollment period. By offering employees helpful resources at all times of the year, employers can further optimize benefits decision-making and improve overall benefits outcomes. Producing newsletters, lunch-and-learns, and providing AI-enabled decision-support technology are just a few ways you can help employees learn more about their benefits options before, during, and after open enrollment.

Empower Employees to Choose Benefits Wisely

Oftentimes, employees simply don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to benefits. However, by putting more relevant information into employee hands and offering tools and resources to help them navigate their options, you can help your employees make more informed and cost-effective benefits decisions throughout the year.

To learn more about trends in decision support and other employee benefit areas, download your copy of “The Top Five Benefit Trends for 2021”.

Mike Boyles Joins Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. as Strategic Director of Business Development, Southeast Region

Mike Boyles Joins Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. as Strategic Director of Business Development, Southeast Region

Houston, TX. [June 1, 2021] Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc. (www.goempyrean.com), a leading technology and service-focused employee benefits administration provider, has announced that Mike Boyles will join the organization as Strategic Director of Business Development. In this role, Boyles will focus on continuing to develop Empyrean’s presence in the southeastern U.S.

“Mike is an industry veteran who has already made an impact at Empyrean,” said Chris Rossi, Empyrean’s VP, Sales. “I am excited to have such a seasoned, industry veteran play such a critical role on our team.”

Boyles has spent the last decade as a sales leader in the employee benefits and benefits administration space, including time spent as a Regional Sales Director for BeneTrac as well as Web Benefits Design.

“I look forward to working with Empyrean’s proficient and experienced team, especially one that goes above and beyond to provide the best service and experience for our clients,” added Boyles. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Empyrean’s excellent products and services to new clients and partners every day.”

The addition of Boyles is a strategic move for Empyrean as the organization continues to expand and roll out new benefits administration technology. This growth includes the launch of Pilot+, Empyrean’s newest claims-based decision support and personalized healthcare navigation product.

Boyles earned a B.S. in Mining and Mineral Engineering from Virginia Tech and resides in Jacksonville, FL.

About Empyrean
Empyrean manages employee health and welfare benefits programs, combining the industry’s most modern, client-adaptive, and configurable benefits technology platform with expert, responsive service. Empyrean provides market-leading enrollment, eligibility management, ACA reporting, and other plan administration services that empowers employers, insurance consultants, and healthcare exchanges to meet ever-evolving benefit challenges. Founded in 2006, Empyrean’s integrated platform services over 3 million annual participants across a wide spectrum of employee population sizes, industry, and complexities.

Headquartered in Houston, TX, Empyrean has additional office locations in Minneapolis, MN and Nashville, TN, as well as remote teams located throughout the U.S.

Empyrean is a subsidy of Securian Financial (www.securian.com).

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brienne Driscoll
Head of Content & Communications
Empyrean Benefit Solutions, Inc.
bdriscoll@goempyrean.com

 

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