Category Archives: News

What Is Voluntary Life Insurance and How Does It Work?

Voluntary life insurance is be a great benefit for employees who might otherwise be unable to purchase life insurance privately due to a medical condition.

September 30, 2019 | By Roger Wohlner – TheStreet

Voluntary life insurance can be a valuable employee benefit for many workers. Coverage is generally low-cost and there are no medical exams required.

What Is Voluntary Life Insurance?

Voluntary life insurance is an employee benefit option offered by many employers to their employees. The employee pays the monthly premium to the insurance company offering the policy. In exchange, the employee’s beneficiaries will receive a death benefit should the employee die while the policy is in force.

Many companies also offer the opportunity for the employee to purchase policies for their spouse and children if desired.

Due to the employer’s sponsorship of the policy, the premiums are generally lower than employees would find for a similar policy if they purchased it privately.

How Does Voluntary Life Insurance Work?

Voluntary life insurance is generally guaranteed issue up to some limit on the death benefit. Guaranteed issue means that there is no medical exam required; applicants won’t be refused based upon any sort of medical condition.

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5 benefit perks to entice top millennial talent to your company

Is a bigger pay packet or a rich benefits package more apt to win and retain the best employees?

September 18, 2019 | By Rachel Lyubovitzky – Employee Benefit News

In the talent wars, higher salaries are no longer the motivator they once were, research shows. That is why increased focus has been placed on health insurance and benefits packages in recent years.

However, with millennials making up at least 75% of workers, priorities have shifted and many employers are falling behind in tailoring their perks for a profoundly changing workforce.

While the traditional trio of coverage — medical, dental and vision — remains relevant, 71% of workers looking to change jobs in 2019 said more extensive benefits would increase job satisfaction. For employers seeking to attract top talent, therefore, the main imperative must be contemporizing and broadening their range of benefits.

Here are five new offerings that could make the difference.

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Survey: Many American workers want life insurance as an employee benefit

September, 3, 2019 | By Lyle Adriano – Insurance Business America

A new survey found that a good portion of American workers are interested in group life insurance through their employer.

The online survey was conducted by The Harris Poll for OneAmerica. More than 1,000 US adults aged 18 years and older who are employed full or part-time participated in the study.

According to the survey, 59% of workers said they would purchase group life insurance via their employer if it was offered as an option. The survey also noted that 28% of the workers surveyed already have voluntary group life insurance.

Notably, the survey found that most respondents see group life insurance as a valuable worksite benefit because it is often unavailable to them to purchase individually. Those who have group life insurance said it gives them “peace of mind” should tragedy occur.

Nearly half of workers who do not have voluntary group life insurance (47%) said it is because their employer does not offer it.

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Growth continues for voluntary sales

Benefit brokers, career agents and voluntary brokers take the largest share of voluntary/worksite sales.

August, 20, 2019 | By Bonnie Brazzell and Nick Rockwell – BenefitsPro.com

This is the last in our series of columns on the voluntary industry sales results for 2018. This column takes a closer look at sales by the following distribution segments:

Career agents—These producers work primarily for a single company and sell that company’s voluntary/worksite products. Aflac and Colonial reps are examples of career agents.

Classic worksite brokers—These producers focus primarily on voluntary sales. Their operations may be small or medium sized, and they typically sell directly to employers and may offer support services to their clients.

Worksite specialists—This segment consists of large marketing organizations whose primary focus is voluntary sales. Benefits communications is a key service offered by this group. Most specialists work on cases brought to them by other brokers who need their expertise in voluntary.

Benefit brokers—These producers typically focus on employee benefits, particularly traditional group benefits. Some are actually benefits agencies inside of a commercial lines agency. For all, voluntary products are generally offered as an additional line.

Occasional worksite producers—These producers are insurance generalists. They have a small agency that sells insurance products other than voluntary/worksite—group, individual or property/casualty. Worksite products are a small part of their operation.

The benefit broker segment continued to take the largest share of voluntary/worksite sales at 59 percent; the segment accounted for almost $5 billion in sales. Career agents continued to have the second highest share, at around $1.5 billion. Voluntary brokers (classics and worksite specialists) accounted for about $1.9 billion.

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3 disability insurance items benefits advisors and employers should discuss

With open enrollment on the horizon, now is the time to talk about short- and long-term disability coverage offerings.

August, 06, 2019 | Lynn Goldbach – BenefitsPro.com

Disability Insurance Awareness Month came to a close in May, but its messages are as relevant as ever. The seriousness of those messages creates the opportunity—and responsibility—for benefits managers and advisors to engage with employers well ahead of open enrollment. Like May, open enrollment will arrive—and be over—all too soon.

The reality is that one in four adults in the U.S. lives with a disability, and more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before they reach retirement age. While people take disability leave from the workplace for a variety of reasons, the most common causes—depression, arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases, and lower back and neck strains—can happen to anyone and have persisting impacts on individuals, their families and their employers. In fact, the Integrated Benefits Institute found that illness-related lost productivity costs U.S. employers $530 billion per year due to almost 1.4 billion days of employee work absence.

Despite these statistics, many individuals who experience a disabling event are physically, emotionally and financially unprepared for it. Cigna recently commissioned the Cigna Group Disability Study of 500 U.S. adults and found that among those without disability coverage, 52 percent took more than two years to recover financially and half experienced depression. On top of that, 42 percent became financially dependent on family and friends—about two times that of individuals with coverage—and roughly one-third or more were extremely worried about their ability to pay living expenses.

With open enrollment on the horizon, now is the time for benefits managers and advisors to engage with employers about the short- and long-term disability coverage offerings available to employees. Below are three key points to help benefits experts communicate the value of this coverage.

1. Financial support, outside of just salary, to help weather the disabling event.

The primary benefit of disability coverage, which most employees understand, is the partial payment of income should a working person encounter a covered disabling event. But the benefits don’t stop there.

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5 benefits mistakes that cost employees

Like a teen in a Porsche, an uninformed employee with a great benefits package is bound to make pricey mistakes. This article outlines the mistakes your employees are making with their benefits and some of our proven strategies to change their behavior for the better.

July, 22, 2019 | By Bob Armour – BenefitsPro.com

Mistake 1: Choosing the wrong plans

Employees waste an average of $750 a year by choosing a plan that’s the wrong fit for them. Meanwhile, their employers waste anywhere from $500 to $2,100 a year on each employee who chooses the wrong plan. The average total cost of health care on the verge of $15,000 per employee, and with health care only getting more complicated, those numbers aren’t dropping anytime soon.

Communication strategies to try:

  • Avoid jargon: In all your benefits communications, explain things the way you would to a friend, in-person—with clear, conversational language instead of insurance gobbledegook. In particular, define terms like “deductible” and “premium.” Those words might be second nature to you, but to your employees they’re a clear signal to feel overwhelmed and panic-choose their plan from last year.
  • Create messaging focused on groups: By tailoring your messaging to fit a group’s unique benefits pain points, you’re more likely to get and keep their attention. It may take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it to create content for different employee demographics.

A few meaningful employee groups: Different demographics (Generation Z, Generation X, Baby Boomers); union vs. non-union employees; recent hires vs. tenured employees; employees getting married or having a child soon

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10 Million Single, Female Workers at Extreme Financial Risk From a Disability

More than 1 in 4 American women workers today will experience a serious disability before reaching normal retirement age.

June, 27, 2019 | The Council for Disability Awareness

In a new survey of the awareness and ownership of disability insurance across today’s workforce, The Council for Disability Awareness (The CDA) uncovered that the 32 million, unmarried women workers, who make up 25 percent of today’s American workforce are underinsured for a disability.

Among all single women in the U.S. whether never married, divorced or widowed – nearly 1 in 3 said they were “extremely unprepared” for any period of disability if they should lose their income. That number equates to roughly 10-million women in America.

The survey found that 52% of all single, working women, age 20-65, have no disability insurance at all. For those women without disability insurance, over half reported they never thought to get it or didn’t know enough about it. And of those who have disability insurance, only 55% say they have enough.

“We’ve always known that women had higher rates of disability throughout their working careers than men, excluding pregnancy. But we were surprised to see how few single women have disability insurance or other forms of income protection, or thought to get it,” said Carol Harnett, President of The CDA.

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Your most valuable workplace benefit may be the most overlooked

June 2, 2019 | By Sharon Epperson & Jessica Dickler – CNBC

One in 4 adults will become disabled at some point before reaching retirement age, according to the Social Security Administration. Yet few people prepare for the possibility that any one ailment could cause them to miss work for an extended period of time.

A total of 20.1 million adults of employment age report a work disability, according to research published by the National Institutes of Health.

Common causes include back or neck problems, depression, anxiety or other emotional issues as well as arthritis or rheumatism.

“Most disabilities you can’t even see,” said Leston Welsh, the head of disability and absence management at Prudential Group Insurance.

There are two basic kinds of insurance that can protect you financially if you are unable to work: Policies for short-term disability, which maternity leave is typically covered under, generally replace 60% to 70% of your base salary. Long-term disability, which ordinarily kicks in after three to six months, typically replaces 40% to 60% of your income.

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Taking “disability” out of disability insurance

There are plenty of ways to have a meaningful conversation about disability insurance without mentioning “disability.”

March 21, 2019 | By Pam Handmaker – BenefitsPRO

Sitting down with your average consumer and having a conversation about voluntary disability insurance is an uphill battle. From the get-go, you’re throwing around a loaded word: “disability.” Whether fair or not, it paints a picture. You can tell them all the stats in the world about the risks, that 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will experience a disability before they retire, but too often they can’t apply that statistic to themselves. It’s no surprise, since the most commonly cited reasons for enrolling in coverage are emotional ones. Employees are less and less likely to make a decision based on facts and figures.

This, then, begs the question: how do we approach disability insurance? Well, the best way is to remove “disability” from the equation entirely. By doing this, you’ll find that there are plenty of ways to have a meaningful conversation with employers and employees about disability insurance that place the focus on financial well-being, a healthy lifestyle and productivity in the workplace.

It’s about the paycheck

Not everyone offered a voluntary disability insurance policy will become disabled, but they will all collect a paycheck. More than protecting from a disability, their policy is there to protect that paycheck. Since almost 8 in 10 American workers say they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, that’s a message that will really hit home.

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Misconceptions of coverage driving low participation in disability insurance

Many workers erroneously believe that a disabling illness or injury will be automatically covered by workers’ compensation or SSDI.

May 7, 2019 | By Katie Kuehner-Hebert – BenefitsPro

There are a number of myths that are causing many workers to not buy disability insurance, according to Prudential’s whitepaper, “Why Disability Income Protection Should Be Part of Your Financial Wellness Toolkit.”

While a majority of employers offer short-term disability and long-term disability benefits to their employees, only 38 percent of workers in private industry were participating in STD income insurance; 33 percent were participating in LTD income insurance, and more than 50 million U.S. workers don’t have disability income insurance.

“Prepared or not, most Americans are at least aware that they should attempt to save for emergencies and retirement,” the authors write. “Most, however, overlook taking the right steps to protect against one of the greatest threats to their overall financial security: being unable to earn a paycheck as a result of a short- or long-term disability.”

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