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Carriers Step Up Voluntary Benefits Offerings, Study Finds

 

Most insurance carriers will introduce new products in 2012, a recent study by Eastbridge Consulting Group found.

An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (82 percent) plan to introduce at least one newGroup Voluntary Benefits voluntary product in the next one to two years, up from 66 percent in the 2010 survey. About half of these expect to introduce more new products than in a typical year.

Critical illness and accident insurance were mentioned most often as planned new products; they were selected by almost half of the respondents. Critical illness was named as the top product in the 2008, 2010, and 2012 studies.

About three-quarters of the respondents mentioned adding term life and hospital indemnity products over the next two years. Just 11 percent of those surveyed are not planning to add any new products for next year, a significant decrease from the 34 percent in 2010 and 22 percent in the 2008.

The Voluntary Product Trends Frontline Report is based on a survey conducted by Eastbridge Consulting Group every other year since 2002. The study tracks trends and changes in the voluntary product market.

It comes on the heels of another recent report by Eastbridge that reflected the surge in interest in voluntary benefits, the company’s 2011 U.S. Worksite/Voluntary Sales Report.

Sales of voluntary insurance products rose 4.5 percent to $5.478 billion in premiums in in 2011, fueled chiefly by the largest producer channel, benefit brokers, according to that report.

Among the other highlights from the Eastbridge research:

  • Life insurance took the largest share of the line of business sales. Total life sales were $1.347 billion, a 1.3 percent increase over 2010).
  • Disability insurance sales totaled $1.075 billion, up 3 percent over 2010 and breaking a two-year slide. Short-term disability sales were down 3 percent from 2010, but still accounted for about 70 percent of disability sales. Long-term disability was up 19 percent to $321 million.
  • Accident insurance sales increased 14 percent over 2010 results.
  • Hospital indemnity/supplemental medical insurance sales rose 2 percent.
  • Cancer insurance sales were up about 2 percent from 2010, while critical illness sales were up 20 percent for a total of $243 million in sales.
  • Group voluntary product sales surpassed individual voluntary sales. For 2011, the mix was 55 percent group and 45 percent individual.

What's the condition of your voluntary benefits program?

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Winston Benefits is a HR solutions company that helps businesses automate and streamline their employee benefit programs. Custom designed and developed client specific solutions help enrich their total compensation and rewards programs while optimizing processes such as benefit communications, enrollment and administration.

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