Disability Benefits Tops List for Desired Voluntary Benefits

July 22, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A recent report from The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America revealed that more than 41% of full-time employees said they would consider paying in full to obtain certain benefits not currently offered by their employer, if the employer were to make those available.

When asked which benefit they would consider on a voluntary basis, employees chose the following (ranked in order of preference):  

  • Disability — 58% 
  • Critical Illness — 56% 
  • Dental — 55% 
  • Life — 52% 
  • Vision — 48% 


In a press release, Elena Wu, Group Marketing Officer, Guardian, said the most surprising finding in Guardian’s research was “that personal experiences with a major illness did not seem to impact interest in purchasing voluntary disability, life, or critical illness insurance.”   

Most full-time employees surveyed (68%) have been or have a relative or friend that has been disabled, seriously ill, or too sick to work. Despite longer life-spans and consequently the need to save more for retirement, 55% of women reported that they gave loans to friends or family members who were in medical distress compared to 34% of men.   

According to the press release, the Guardian research also reveals that many employees admit they don’t understand differences between insurance products: 

  • More than a third (38%) of employees state that they don’t know the difference between critical illness and disability insurance; 
  • More than a third (38%) say that they don’t know the difference between critical illness and medical insurance; 
  • More than two-fifths (43%) say they don’t know the difference between critical illness and long-term care insurance; and 
  • More than half (57%) don’t know the difference between critical illness insurance and accelerated death benefits on life insurance. 


Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Disability and Critical Illness – Awareness & Opportunity presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,015 adults comprising 504 men and 511 women, 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States from February 4-7, 2010.  

The full report can be accessed at http://www.aboutemployeebenefits.com.