What are you, Summit Re?

“What is Summit Re, a broker?” ask some individuals in the industry who haven’t worked with us before. Technically, we are regulated as a Reinsurance Intermediary Broker, which is very different from the retail broker you may have dealt with before. We place reinsurance for health plans, but only for ERC/Swiss Re. And we do so much more: we’re responsible for underwriting each risk, developing and maintaining underwriting and pricing manuals, drafting contracts, processing claims and premium payments, servicing accounts, and maintaining managed care vendor relationships.

The health plan reinsurance marketplace is divided roughly in half between coverages that are delivered directly, which is the way we do business, and those placed through brokers. Which is better? Competition keeps all of us on our toes, but here are reasons we prefer direct distribution.

Deal directly with the decision-makers

Your Summit account team doesn’t just sell a coverage, it prepares and delivers the contract language, pays claims under that contract, and works with your medical management team to reduce current and future medical expenses.

Short distribution chain, low expenses

ERC/Swiss Re retains the risks it writes, so there are no back-end pool and intermediary expenses. Summit provides home office services and sales at a cost comparable to broker loads alone.

It’s a technical sale—we’re a technical company

Summit Re has 3 FSA-level actuaries and 2 CPAs that get involved in your coverage issues. We can tell you we cover LTAC days as standard inpatient days, not restricted step-down days—and be sure we pay the claims that way. Our sales cycle starts with understanding your risk, not just quoting on your current coverage.

Do you work with a retail broker today? You can still get a Summit Re quote. We compete with traditional brokers every day. The broker field is extremely competitive, but the number of reinsurers they have access to is not very large. And that list doesn’t include the largest— Swiss Re, only available through Summit Re.

Buy Direct or Use a Middleman?

Are you contacted relentlessly by reinsurance brokers? We believe in marketing directly to our customers, rather than through a middleman. The advantages of direct marketing include:

  • Direct contact with you enables us to do our own risk analysis to best match excess coverage to a plan’s needs and objectives. This direct interaction is particularly important due to complex product structures and your evolving needs.
  • Field underwriting gives us a thorough understanding of the risk that you are assuming, rather than relying on a middleman for critical information.
  • Understanding your unique strategies and having direct contact with your management allows us to match other products and services to your plan’s needs.
  • Expense management is needed for long-term survival in a competitive managed care market. A typical broker commission adds 10 percent to premium costs.

Summit Re/GE Insurance Solutions is one of four major providers of HMO excess loss coverage, defined as carriers with over 10% market share each. Two of the four top reinsurers market directly. This means that if you use a broker and don'’t also access the direct markets like Summit Re independently of your broker, you will miss quotes from half of the major reinsurers. Certain brokers may even be unable to access some broker markets because they have no relationship with the carrier. This reduces the broker’'s reach even further.

If you do use a broker, nothing stops you from accessing the expertise of Summit Re, as well. If you give us a chance to help you, you won'’t be disappointed.