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More than half of Gen Y workers overestimate the average cost of disability insurance purchased at work, and only one in three completely understand life insurance, according to research by The Hartford.

To address that gap, The Hartford has launched a national educational campaign featuring Gen Y author Lindsey Pollak to address misconceptions and raise awareness about disability insurance and life insurance. As part of The Hartford’s My Tomorrow campaign, Pollak will share tips on navigating the “real world.” She’ll be sharing advice on making good financial and career decisions at events and via a new website (www.thehartford.com/tomorrow),

“There’s a tremendous opportunity to help this country’s 72.2 million Millennials understand the importance of investing today for their tomorrow,” Pollak said. “Together with The Hartford, I hope to help Millennials plan ahead.”

The Hartford Benefits For Tomorrow Study found less than half of Gen Y workers (those ages 18-31), also known as Millennials, have signed up for disability insurance. Yet, approximately 90 percent of Millennials said in the survey that they would have to change their lifestyle if they lost income for three to six months.

“Our research showed many young workers don’t realize it can be easy and affordable to protect their income with insurance they get at work,” said Mike Fish, vice president of voluntary benefits with The Hartford.

HR professionals can also take steps to help their Gen Y workers better understand their voluntary benefits. Here are three tips for improving your benefits communication program for your young workers:

  • Provide concrete examples. Make sure your model employees include someone like them -- with or without a spouse and children. If all your examples are focused on older workers with dependents, they may assume that disability insurance or life insurance isn’t something they need. And use normal language. You can have the most amazing benefits package in your industry, but it won't matter if your audience doesn’t understand it. Translate the HR jargon into the language your Gen Y workers use everyday. Explain what an HDHP and long term disability insurance are in terms that connect concretely with their personal budgets.
  • Don’t wait until open enrollment. Gen Y workers haven’t been in the workforce very long. They lack the knowledge and experience selecting benefits that your more experienced workers have. Help them prepare for benefits enrollment by offering them opportunities to get educated about personal financial throughout the year. Break information down into more manageable chunks. Blogs and social media can be particularly helpful..
  • Use multiple channels. Gen Y is technologically savvy. Your benefits communication plan should adapt to that reality and provide them with information via the web and social media, as well as the traditional print and in-person meetings.
These tips won’t just help your Gen Y workers, though. “Millennials aren’t the only ones facing new benefit choices. More and more employees are being asked to help pay for their benefits. That means at this year’s benefits enrollment, many employees will face more choices than ever before,” Fish said. “We designed our awareness campaign with Lindsey and enhanced our online educational platform to help employees be better informed about their benefit selections.

Is your benefits communications program up to speed?

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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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