Service providers are developing faster and easier, yet secure, ways for employees and employers to access retirement plan information.
For employees, Hewitt Associates L.L.C., Lincolnshire, Ill., is offering information on all benefits programs offered by their company through a single telephone call to a voice response system. Employers must be clients of Hewitt's total benefits outsourcing program, however.
The SmartLink software recognizes each person who calls into the voice response system from his or her entered Social Security number and automatically tailors the menu of voice response options to reflect his or her company's particular features and the employee's eligibility.
A voice recognition feature lets callers make selections by speaking the number of the menu option. The employee then is connected to the selected benefit service or vendor.
SmartLink was developed by Hewitt in partnership with AT&T, Berkeley Heights, N.J.
For employers, a new tool from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Springfield, allows them access to plan information easily via a touch-sensitive screen for telephones.
With the TelePlan device, an administrator merely touches an autodial button to connect to MassMutual on a toll-free phone line.
The touch screen then allows a user to select from a menu of options to tap into the plan's record-keeping system. Options include current fund performance, verification of receipt of contributions, individual employees' file records and account information.