U.S. Retirement & Benefits Partners: Seamlessly Unifying Retirement and Benefits
Mark M. Skinner, CEOStarting his career in 1974 as a Pension Consultant and a Group Insurance Consultant with UNUM Corporation, an employee benefits company, Mark M. Skinner, has amassed over four decades of experience in the benefits and retirement landscape. As a President and CEO of CitiStreet Retirement Service Division, a joint venture between Citigroup and State Street Corp., he led 25 regional offices and 500 financial advisors. Closely watching the shifts that have happened over the years in the benefits industry, he saw that a majority of the American population, including millennials, want to have an early retirement and are finding that social security and pensions are often not enough to live out retirement years in comfort. As a result, the right combination of retirement and benefits plans are increasingly becoming the differentiator among employers to attract employees. However, traditionally, both employers and employees considered retirement and benefits plans as separate entities that often operated in silos.
With such trends and challenges present in the market, Skinner, to unleash the value behind breaking down the operational silos between benefits and retirement plans, established U.S. Retirements & Benefits Partners (USRBP) in 2007. “We emphasize the need to integrate retirement and financial concerns into overall benefits practice. And technology is the tool to achieve it,” mentions Skinner, Co-founder, President and CEO of USRBP. As a result, the company has developed a fully integrated Financial Wellness program, available as a website to employers and employees, that ensures educational, governmental, corporate, and non-profit employers and employees get the help they deserve when designing and managing their retirement and benefits plans.“From benefits plan design and consultation to third party administration and recordkeeping for retirement plans, USRBP acts as an employer’s single-source solution, helping them deliver benefits and retirement plans that are valued by their employees,” remarks Skinner.
USRBP has acquired numerous regional firms to provide employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b), coupled with expert compliance and administrative support for those plans. Add to that employee education and a wide range of services to assist employees in the retirement and benefits decision-making process. The goal is to give the employees the ability to make fully informed decisions.
Going by the trend, Skinner elaborates that today, millennial cohorts look for immediate access to information, in the most modern fashion, with an ability to buy what they need, while also having support to make an informed decision. To this end, USRBP has strategized four significant initiatives to answer all the needs of the employed population. For the employer, the company has a benefits dashboard. It is a portal for employers where they can see the range of services USRBP provides, from online Benefits Administration to 401(k) to maintaining compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ‘Obamacare,’ all in a single-window interface.
From there, using single sign-on (SSO) technology and API data exchanges, USRBP can pull information from various platforms to present it in one logical view that equips the employer to search for any additional information they require. In a complementary fashion, for the employees, the company has incorporated a tool called ‘DecisionGuide’ into their BenAdmin system to help them find the best health insurance plan. Using predictive analysis built around AI, USRBP helps an employee find the right level of coverage that best fits their budget. Besides the fact that the interface is easy to use, it can potentially decrease the cost by almost 30 percent.
USRBP acts as an employer’s single-source solution, helping them deliver benefits and retirement plans that are valued by their employees
Furthermore, with the exponential growth registered in the usage of mobile devices, USRBP has collaborated with a mobile device technology provider that delivers a wide range of tools to employees. The platform incorporates everything from plan info, contacts, benefit ID cards, Rx, to medical provider search, as well as patient advocacy. Moreover, utilizing geo-fencing, their platform can send information to the employees when they need it. Finally, they have a Financial Wellness portal in their offering. It is a 24/7 available tool with over 100 resources on Retirement Planning, Health Insurance, College Savings, Insurance & Protection, Personal Finances, Social Security & Medicare. The self-help website has unbiased educational information that includes print, calculators, and videos to assist individuals in seeking guidance on a range of long-term planning topics.
Recently, USRBP helped a school district that had five vendors providing them different services. Tracking and monitoring all those services became a challenge for the school. Coming to their aid, USRBP made minor changes and brought in a benefits administration system, a 403(b) compliance program, a FICA Alternative plan, as well as ACA compliance. On top of it, they combined all these services in one single window, the Benefits Dashboard. As a result of having all the information in one place, the school no longer had to consult five different firms and their websites.
In the last six to twelve months, USRBP has put in a tremendous effort to continuously develop its Financial Wellness program. “We are looking at making some additional technological investments into our platform and create more synergies with added functionality to continue expanding our capabilities,” says Skinner. Moving forward, the company has the right amalgamation of technology and a passionate team that will continue to deliver the best benefit and retirement plans for employers, advisors, consultants, and partners in the industry.