January 9, 2018 | By Cyril Tuohy | InsuranceNewsNet
For benefit brokers, connecting employee groups to insurance benefit platforms has never been easy and the popularity of employee-paid voluntary benefits has made it more tricky, experts say.
Voluntary benefits is very high touch, said Ginger Bates, director of research for Eastbridge Consulting Group, a research firm that tracks the voluntary market.
Compared with traditional employer-paid basic medical and group insurance products, enrolling in a voluntary benefit program isnt necessarily more difficult, Bates said, but it is different and creates more issues.
For brokers and insurers new to the growing voluntary market, its a learning curve for both, she added.
Employers that offer voluntary benefits like to do so because employees pay for a benefit to fill gaps left by gradually retreating major medical insurance coverage.
For their part, employees see value in paying for these supplementary benefits, which they can buy at a group rate.
Voluntary benefits also help employers retain employees, who gravitate to the customization options available with voluntary benefits packages, said Greg Callahan, national director of voluntary benefits for CBIZ, which helps companies manage employees.