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Demographics Drive Voluntary Product Offerings

On Aug 27, 2014

Demographics Drive Voluntary Product Offerings

With a more global workforce and changing economy, competition for qualified candidates is more competitive than ever. Employers looking for an edge in candidate attraction are turning to perks and voluntary benefits to add to their benefits offerings. Eastbridge Consulting Group, the voluntary industry researcher that tracks voluntary benefits sales each year, reports that voluntary benefits sales grew more than four percent from 2012 to 2013. But voluntary benefits aren’t the same as traditional benefits and can be challenging for employers and benefits managers to figure out.

What Voluntary Benefits are Selling?

Eastbridge Consulting Group reports that voluntary life insurance saw the highest sales in 2013 at almost $2 billion, or 28 percent of all voluntary sales. Voluntary disability came in second, with $1.37 billion, or 21 percent of all industry sales. Voluntary accident insurance came in third, with $775.1 million, or 12 percent of all sales. Other types of voluntary benefits offerings include hospital indemnity/supplemental medical, dental, cancer, critical illness, vision, and accidental death and dismemberment.

These traditional voluntary benefits are not the only ones being sought after by younger and busier employees, the millennials and the sandwich generation. Employees are seeking more nontraditional benefits and employers are looking for a wider variety of benefits to draw top candidates.

What Voluntary Benefits Do Employees Want?

ThinkHR chief knowledge officer Laura Kerekes says demographic shifts require employers to offer a wider range of additional voluntary offerings for recruiting and retention. She says they look for useful voluntary benefits that employees want but aren’t going to add too big of an additional administrative burden.

Kerekes advises voluntary benefits should now include things like legal services, long-term care insurance, concierge tools, financial services such as identity theft protection, career benefits like tuition assistance and enhanced training, sick child care assistance, and elder care for adults. She says these new benefits help attract and retain top talent.

Why More Voluntary Benefits?

A recent Towers Watson Voluntary Benefits and Services Survey found that critical illness, identity theft, and financial counseling were the top three new voluntary benefits employers are adding, but that they are not communicating and promoting their voluntary benefits to employees.

The Affordable Care Act and its many challenges is also behind the trend toward adding more voluntary benefits. Industry research group LIMRA found voluntary critical illness and accident insurance sales have contributed to the recent rise in overall voluntary sales. This is due in part because they are being presented as supplemental insurance for paycheck protection in the consumer-driven health care marketplace.

What to Look for in Voluntary Benefits

AmWINS Group senior vice president Rob Shestack says benefits managers need to look very closely at voluntary products to see if they have an individual look and feel and whether or not they can be taken with employees if they leave the group.

Employee Family Protection, Inc. vice president Vinnie Daboul advises employers that newer voluntary carriers won’t have as sophisticated products as more established carriers, and they need to look for both group and individual programs and carriers that can provide strong administration for billing, claims, and underwriting.

For more information on voluntary benefits visit:

ontact PAYDAY for more assisstance about voluntary benefits.

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