A new LIMRA study finds that 7 in 10 employers offer voluntary benefits to improve the morale of their existing employees and attract and retain new talent.
“As the economy and the job market improve, employers are finding it more challenging to attract and retain key personnel,” said Ron Neyer, MBA, CLU, ChFC, assistant research director, LIMRA Distribution Research. “LIMRA found employers choosing to offer voluntary benefits to supplement their existing benefits package without adding to their bottom line.”
According to LIMRA voluntary benefits sales research, the voluntary market has grown in four of the past five years, averaging five percent annual gain. “Increasing medical benefits costs and the need to do more with less has made voluntary benefits an attractive option for employers,” noted Neyer.
Employers are generally happy with their voluntary benefits advisors. Six in ten feel that agents/brokers/consultants usually or always deliver on their voluntary benefit promises. Only eight percent feel that advisors rarely or never live up to their promises.
Advisor satisfaction ranks the highest at companies with 20 to 99 employees.
Post-sale support is very important to employers, the study notes. Employers prefer that their workforce receives voluntary benefits communication and service through established channels like call centers (80 percent), personalized employee statements (61 percent) and informational materials distributed at work (53 percent). Approximately half of employers consider pre-enrollment email messages to be important. Employers also consider email support even more crucial after the sale, and feel similarly about online service capabilities.
The study also uncovered how employers view mobile technology in relation to employee communication. Nearly one in four employers feel that mobile technology is very important for voluntary benefit enrollments – 38 percent say mobile access to plan information is critical after the sale. In addition, almost half (49 percent) believe post-sales live web-based support (i.e. web chat) is valuable.
“As more Millennials enter the work force, the demand for online and mobile access to their benefits will increase. Companies that stay current on these communication strategies are likely to have a competitive edge in this growing market,” Neyer said.
LIMRA surveyed 1,321 employee benefits decision makers in private firms with 10 or more employees in May and June of this year. These included 925 employers that currently offer one or more voluntary products and 396 firms that do not offer any benefit options that are 100 percent employee-paid.
For more information, visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.
By Ayo Mseka