Category Archives: News

The Hartford Finds Pandemic Renews Focus On Employee Benefits

September 24, 2020 | Business Wire

  • Forty percent of employees will consider purchasing life insurance during their next open enrollment as a result of COVID-19
  • Gen Z and younger Millennials now more likely to purchase additional benefits offered by their company

  • HARTFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Hartford’s 2020 Future of Benefits Study found that the pandemic has placed a greater emphasis on employer-sponsored benefits that help people plan for unexpected life events and provide financial protection. According to the study, 40% of U.S. workers say they will consider purchasing life insurance during their next open enrollment as a result of COVID-19.

    “The pandemic is shining new light on the benefit programs offered to employees through their workplace, revealing features they might have been overlooking,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of Group Benefits at The Hartford. “People are facing challenging circumstances – whether it is the shattering experience of losing a loved one or becoming sick themselves – and are now recognizing the value of financial protection provided by life insurance and other benefit options. As we mark Life Insurance Awareness Month and approach benefits enrollment season, we encourage employees to carefully review and consider the benefits offered by their employer that can help them prevail through difficult life experiences.”

    The Hartford’s Future of Benefits Study, which polled U.S. workers and human resource benefit decision makers before the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. in early March 2020, and again in mid-June, found that employees say they would consider purchasing the following benefits during their next open enrollment because of COVID-19:

  • Life insurance: 40%
  • Short-term disability insurance: 30%
  • Long-term disability insurance: 29%
  • Critical illness insurance: 27%
  • Hospital indemnity insurance: 23%
  • (Read more…)

    (View infographic…)

    Pandemic has employees rethinking the value of benefits

    September 3, 2020 | By Emily Payne | BenefitsPRO

    A recent survey from Prudential finds that employees are putting a lot more emphasis on non-health benefits.

    As employers, HR professionals and benefits advisors gear up for another open enrollment season, one thing is clear: This year won’t be business as usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a wakeup call for many employees who realize they need to be better prepared for the unexpected.

    A recent survey from Prudential Financial surveyed employees on their needs and perspectives as we move toward open enrollment and found, among other things, that non-health benefits are playing a bigger role in their decision to stay at their current job or move to a new one.

    “While we’re pleased to see workers increasingly recognize the value of a comprehensive, cohesive workplace benefits package, we also cannot ignore that this stems from the financial, physical and mental stressors of the pandemic, …”

    (Read more and view infographic…)

    Why Employers Should Consider Adding Short-Term Disability During Pandemic

    August 7, 2020 | By Ed Gussio – columnist | Flagstaff Business & Online News

    Disability insurance is one of the most overlooked of all employee benefit plans. Think about it: who wants to think they are at risk for becoming disabled?

    In normal times, this happens more often than we would like to think. Today, in the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic that we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever for your employees.

    As a reminder, disability insurance is income protection in case of disability due to accident or illness…

    According to the 2019 SHRM Employee Benefit Survey, only 61% of employers offer STD insurance…

    (Read more…)

    Voluntary sales continue to grow

    July 23, 2020 | By Erin Marino and Nick Rockwell | BenefitsPRO

    Total voluntary sales for 2019 were $8.832 billion, up 4.5% over 2018 sales.

    According to our annual U.S. Voluntary/Worksite Sales Report, new business annualized premium (voluntary sales) increased again last year. Total sales for 2019 were $8.832 billion, up 4.5% over 2018 sales.

    The growth rate was slightly higher compared to what we saw in 2018 (4.5% compared to 3.8%).

    Takeover business (i.e., business that moves from one voluntary carrier to another with a similar product) continued to show stabilization in 2019. The estimated percentage of sales that were takeovers (on an aggregated basis) was 56.4%, just slightly above 55.7% in 2018. In-force premium increased by 4.4% in 2019 to an estimated $47.1 billion.

    (Read more and view charts…)

    Over half of employers expect COVID-19 to increase voluntary enrollment participation, finds Eastbridge report

    July 16, 2020 | Source: Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc.

    AVON, Conn., July 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — When asked about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on enrollment participation, just over half of employers surveyed believe more employees will enroll in voluntary products, finds Eastbridge’s latest study, Employer Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic and Voluntary. In addition, almost a quarter do not think COVID-19 will have any effect on voluntary enrollments and another 12% are unsure. Only 12% of employers believe enrollment participation will decrease.

    However, many employers anticipate making changes to their voluntary enrollment plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    (Read more…)

    The Biggest Financial Risk You Don’t Know You’re Taking

    June 25, 2020 | By Danielle Seurkamp – Forbes

    Warren Buffett said, “only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” As Covid-19 came in, the proverbial tide went out and it exposed how few of us were prepared for an unexpected loss of income. There simply are not that many of us who can get by without our next paycheck, much less without a job.

    When millions of people were drastically ejected from the workforce, the government stepped in with stimulus to keep people on the payroll and keep families afloat. It is a safety net that is only deployed when unemployment is so pervasive, and its impact on the economy is so detrimental. It is about protecting the whole, not any one individual.

    Of course, as individuals, we always run the risk of losing our ability to earn a living, not only to downsizing or layoffs but to disability as well. In fact, disability is a far bigger risk than many of us realize. According to the CDC, one in four adults has a disability that impacts major life activities, such as a long-lasting sensory, physical, mental, or emotional condition that makes it difficult or impossible to leave the house and work. About 37% of people with a disability have jobs, as compared to 77% of people without a disability.

    While there are some social safety nets in place like unemployment benefits or Social Security disability income, these programs are either short-lived or difficult to receive. Many people with disabilities find it difficult to qualify for Social Security disability income at all. That leaves it largely on us to protect ourselves from the potential loss of income resulting from a disability.

    Fortunately, many employers provide long-term disability insurance to their employees, either as a company-paid benefit or as a voluntary benefit paid for by the employee.

    (Read more…)

    Gen Re: Individual Disability Issuers Post Mixed Results

    June 24, 2020 | By Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor

    Both non-can and guaranteed renewable in-force premium increased.

    Individual disability insurance issuers may have covered slightly fewer people in 2019, but their in-force premium revenue may have increased slightly.

    Gen Re has reported figures supporting those conclusions in a summary of results from a voluntary issuer survey. Gen Re received data from 16 insurers.

    The participants covered about 3 million people through in-force policies last year, or 1.1% fewer than in 2018, according to the Gen Re survey results.

    Premium revenue from individual disability insurance policies already in force increased 0.7%, to $4.9 billion.

    A summary of the Gen Re individual disability market survey is available here.

    The number of new policies sold fell 5.9%, to 275,599, but premiums from the new policies that were sold increased 0.7%, to $426 million.

    (Read more…)

    COVID-19 expected to impact voluntary benefits

    June 18, 2020 | By Erin Marino and Nick Rockwell – BenefitsPro

    Despite challenges in the near-term, there appears to be a potential upside for voluntary benefits.

    As COVID-19 continues to have far-reaching impacts on the workforce and in turn, the employee benefits landscape, brokers are concerned about the effects it will have on voluntary benefits. Eastbridge’s recent survey of brokers found that the top concern for voluntary was a potential for reduced enrollment volume, with 71% of brokers agreeing this was of concern. Around half of brokers expressed concern that employer and/or employee interest in voluntary may be reduced, while one-third felt that COVID-19 may divert their time towards answering coverage questions on existing business.

    A few brokers noted the potential impact of a reduced workforce through business closings and/or layoff and furloughs. However, only 11% of brokers say they are not concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on their voluntary business.

    (Read more…)

    U.S. Consumers Need a Disability Impact Reality Check: LIMRA

    May 7, 2020 | By Allison Bell – ThinkAdvisor

    Many told a survey team that they thought the only way to get disability coverage was through an employer.

    Consumers' Proposed Paycheck Substitutes
    Here’s how many survey participants told LIMRA and Life Happens they would use some
    suggested financial options to cope with the financial effects of a disability.
    (Credit: LIMRA and Life Happens.)

    LIMRA is participating in Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2020 by releasing a new disability awareness fact sheet — and a batch of data from a survey it conducted with Life Happens.

    Life Happens, the Council for Disability Awareness and other organizations organize the annual awareness month campaigns to try to remind Americans that the ability to earn a paycheck is the most valuable asset that most of them have.

    The LIMRA Disability Insurance Awareness Month fact sheet is available here.

    LIMRA and Life Happens have joined to field the 2020 Insurance Barometer Study survey.

    At one point, the participants were asked how they’d cope, financially, with a loss of the ability to work due to illness or injury.

    (Read more…)

    How to ready your employee benefit offerings for uncertain times

    May 1, 2020 | By Ron Herrmann – BenefitsPro

    A holistic benefits strategy allows you to provide employees with value beyond their paycheck and prepare them for whatever’s next.

    HR managers, benefits professionals and business owners are grappling with a myriad of challenges brought about by the new coronavirus. But looking ahead, both employees and their employers will likely be focused on building greater resilience, so that they are better prepared for tough times–if and when they come.

    As an employer or benefits manager, if you can offer employees access to coverage options, as well as equip them with educational resources to help them make smart decisions, you’ll provide them with value beyond their paycheck, making it easier for your business to attract and retain talent.

    That’s where a holistic workforce benefits strategy comes in – one that takes into account a combination of both employer-funded and voluntary benefits and resources for work/life balance. These offerings can provide additional support for both you and your employees, both in our current environment and in the future:

    Disability income insurance

    Disability income insurance programs are in the spotlight as employers and employees comb through the options available to individuals who may be unable to work due to a medical condition associated with COVID-19. While pandemic-specific sick pay programs are being implemented at both the federal and state level, these don’t replace the broader coverage provided by private short- and long-term disability income insurance plans.

    (Read more…)