The Standard is the marketing name for StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and its subsidiaries. StanCorp Equities, Inc., member FINRA, wholesales a group annuity contract issued by Standard Insurance Company and a mutual fund trust platform for retirement plans. Standard Retirement Services, Inc. provides financial recordkeeping and plan administrative services. Investment advisory services are provided by StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor. StanCorp Equities, Inc., Standard Insurance Company, Standard Retirement Services, Inc., and StanCorp Investment Advisers, Inc., are subsidiaries of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc., and all are Oregon corporations.
This One Question Can Set Your Practice Apart
How to Start the Conversation
How much time do you and your employees spend running your retirement plan?
The answer may be difficult for an employer to quantify. Many do not have staff fully dedicated to overseeing their plan, which means they are fitting in plan-related responsibilities as they are able. It may be pulling focus from the things they do best, resulting in unnecessary fiduciary risk and expense.
Talk to employers about how the following responsibilities are being addressed. If they are handling these tasks in-house, see if they can estimate the time spent by employees to complete these duties:
- Writing, printing and mailing required participant notices (Sarbanes-Oxley, Summary Plan Description, Summary Annual Report, automatic enrollment and more)
- Reviewing and approving loans, distributions and alerts
- Filing Form 5500
- Reviewing loan defaults and cash-outs
- Distributing corrected contributions for failed ADP/ACP testing
- Keeping plan document up to date
Identify Real Costs — And Opportunities to Save
In addition to the human resources expense, most plan responsibilities come with a hard dollar cost. For example, one plan sponsor was producing thousands of pages of required plan participant notices each year. They didn't have the right equipment to print, stuff and mail that kind of volume, and it was creating significant work and cost for the HR director and her staff. Once they outsourced the responsibility for participant notices, they reduced their hard dollar cost and saved at least nine days of time for their HR staff.
Evaluate Provider Solutions
The administrative support services offered by retirement plan providers can vary widely. While some may handle required participant mailings, for example, others may not - leaving a gap that can expose an employer to risk, cost or additional burden. When evaluating solutions for employers, look beyond the fee page of provider proposals and ask questions like:
- Which ERISA-required administrative duties do you handle?
- How do you charge for managing these administrative duties?
- Do you accept full fiduciary responsibility and make amends if the duties are not completed in an accurate and timely manner?
- What support can you offer in the even of a DOL or IRS investigation or audit?
With a clear understanding of employer's specific retirment plan responsibilities and insights to providers who can lighten their load, you can demonstrate even greater acumen and value as a plan advisor.
Jared's Story: Time for Family
Age: 36 - Occupation: pediatrician - Married, one child
How the Family Care Benefit provided the ability to care for a loved one
Jared's daughter was born with a heart defect. They visited multiple specialists to diagnose the condition and determine the appropriate treatment. Then his daughter underwent surgeries, hospital stays and months of follow-up appointments. Benefits from Jared’s Platinum Advantage policy helped make up for the income lost when Jared spent time away from work to attend physician appointments and to be with his daughter in the hospital and throughout her extended recovery — providing peace of mind during a trying time.
Supportive Office Equipment
Age: 42 - Occupation: accountant - Married, no children
Assistance on the road to recovery through a rehabilitation program
Jody's role as an accountant at a small firm requires a lot of computer work. After sustaining a serious back injury from a car accident, Jody was totally disabled under her Platinum Advantage policy. Jody’s doctor recommended she purchase assistive equipment to help her work comfortably at her desk without aggravating her condition. She was able to return to work full time after participating in a rehabilitation program in which expenses for a sitstand desk and other ergonomic accommodations were paid for under her Platinum Advantage policy. These modifications helped ensure she could return to work safely, without hindering her recovery.
David's Story: Starting a Medical Career
Age: 33 - Occupation: dermatology physician - Single, no children
Benefits that match career growth through the Benefit Increase Rider
David is completing his dermatology residency and just accepted an offer at a private practice. Before the end of his residency, he purchased a Platinum Advantage policy that included the Benefit Increase Rider, knowing his income will rise significantly after he starts his first post-residency job. The benefit also will allow his policy to grow with him as he progresses in his career and receives additional salary increases. David values the fact that his coverage going forward will match his developing career.
Jason's Story: Accidents Happen
Age: 35 • Occupation: orthopedic surgeon • Married, two children
Finding work in a new occupation with the Own Occupation Rider
Jason injured his right hand in an accident and was unable to return to his job as an orthopedic surgeon because he couldn't perform surgery. Due to his medical training, he was able to return to work as a family medicine physician. Jason was considered totally disabled in his regular occupation as an orthopedic surgeon — even though he earns an income from another occupation as a family medicine physician — because of the own occupation definition of total disability included in his Platinum Advantage policy. Because of this, he receives the policy's full basic monthly benefit, in addition to the income he receives in his new position.