More Employers Embrace Voluntary Benefits

May 25, 2011 ( – A LIMRA study found that overall voluntary benefits penetration improved across the board during the recession, but growth was brighter with mid-size employers (firms with 100 –999 employees).

According to a press release, in the past, employers have offered voluntary worksite benefits to boost morale, attract strong candidates, and retain employees, but nearly 80% of employers surveyed say they are interested in using voluntary worksite benefits because these plans carry no direct costs to the business.  In addition, two-thirds of employers said they offer voluntary benefits because it is more affordable for their employees than if they purchased the coverage on their own, and to provide them with a wider array of benefits.    

More than four in 10 businesses are considering adding a new voluntary benefit within the next two years. Employers who currently sponsor voluntary benefits are very satisfied with their programs. Half of employers not offering (but aware of) voluntary benefits are receptive to purchasing voluntary products.   

The study confirmed that an employer’s decision to offer a particular benefit is largely dependent on the amount of value they anticipate their employees deriving from the plan; however, there may be a disconnect with employee views.  Few respondents appreciate how important insurance protection can be to younger employees, two-thirds of employers believe a major medical plan is less important to employees under age 40, and less than a quarter believes that life insurance is truly valuable to their younger workers.    

According to LIMRA research, younger workers are more engaged in learning about various benefits than in the past and most employees — both young and old — value benefits like medical insurance and dental insurance.   This disconnect will likely challenge worksite marketers to get plan sponsors with a younger work force to expand their benefit offerings, LIMRA said.  

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