As interest increases in employers offering voluntary benefits, a particularly large number of employers are beginning to add a more robust range of voluntary benefits to improve morale of existing employees and attract new talent.

“Based on trends that we’ve seen tracking new sales over the past few years, we predict an increase in employers offering critical illness benefits,” says Ron Neyer, assistant research director, distribution research for LIMRA. “This impacts the voluntary segment, and I suspect that more employers than in the past are also now partially funding these plans.”

According to a recent report, LIMRA says the voluntary market has grown in four of the past five years, averaging 5% annual gain.

“Historically, life and cancer insurance have been the most commonly offered voluntary benefits,” Neyer adds, adding that new sales have remained flat in the past few years. “I don’t expect either to have fallen significantly.”

Also see: 4 best practices for successful voluntary benefit participation

General attitudes toward voluntary benefit advisors remain generally high, as 60% of those surveyed feel their agents “usually or always deliver on their voluntary benefit promises.” Only 8% feel their advisors aren’t pulling their weight. The study found companies ranging from 20 to 99 employees tended to have the highest advisor satisfaction rate.

The study also points to a growing trend in employers utilizing mobile technology for employee communications. According to the study, one in four employers feel that mobile technology is very important for voluntary benefit enrollments — and 38% say mobile access to plan information is critical after the sale. Also, close to half believe post-sales live web-based support — such as web chat — is valuable.

Neyer adds that the current data only includes initial, high-level findings and as more information is processed, additional details will be released in the coming months. 

The LIMRA survey included 1,321 employee benefits decision makers in private firms with 10 or more employees, including 925 employers that currently offer one or more voluntary products and 396 firms that do not offer any benefit options that are 100 percent employee-paid.

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