LIMRA Hopeful for Open MEP Progress in 2019

Legislative proposals could pave the way for increased access to workplace retirement savings plans in 2019, LIMRA says.

LIMRA has published a new white paper outlining its 2019 predictions for the investment markets, the economy and employer-sponsored retirement benefits.

In 2019, LIMRA expects equity markets to slow, but interest rates will continue to rise. The organization expects to see gains in disposable income and bond rates, coupled with low unemployment.

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LIMRA predicts artificial intelligence (AI) to grow both in the number of companies utilizing it and in its range of applications, especially within the financial services sector. While many companies are already using this technology via chatbots and automated underwriting, a large percentage of executives see AI as being extremely important to business development and client service in the next three years.

“AI is a natural extension of predictive modeling building and companies will look to technology to utilize their vast amount of data and to enhance the existing stills of data scientists,” LIMRA says.

According to LIMRA, this year will likely see an increase in access to workplace retirement savings plans for private sector employees.

“This will be due to increased interest in multiple employer plans [MEPs] and the rise of FinTech,” LIMRA’s report says. “Recent federal initiatives, such as President Trump’s executive order to expand the number of small employers who can offer MEPs and the proposed Department of Labor rule expanding MEPs, have also helped pave the way for increased access to workplace retirement savings plans in 2019.”

One area LIMRA sees a slowdown in growth is with supplemental benefits. While the growth of overall workplace benefits have been moderate at best, supplemental plans have seen some success in recent years due to the growing popularity of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) paired with health savings accounts (HSAs).

“In October, Kaiser Health News suggested the sales of HDHPs have peaked and will now start to trend down,” the white paper says. “LIMRA believes if that downward trend is to happen and continue, then the sales of supplemental plans will likely follow suit.”

LIMRA members can download the full white paper here.