Younger generations aren’t very familiar with critical illness insurance, but challenging times appear to be spiking their interest in other workplace benefits, according to two sets of jointly conducted surveys.

Just 21% of men who bought individual critical illness insurance policies last year and 19% of female buyers were between the ages of 25 and 34 based on an analysis of more than 20,500 purchasers conducted by the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance and Gen Re.

However, these buying patterns aren’t necessarily extending to awareness of other employee benefit products offered on a voluntary basis. Online research conducted in 2008 and 2010 by Harris Interactive for Unum cited a sluggish economy and health care reform as key drivers of a deeper interest in various ancillary benefits by the nation’s youngest workers.

For example, the percentage of young workers who are familiar with life insurance increased to 44% last year from 31% two years earlier. A similar result occurred with disability insurance, whose awareness climbed during that same time frame to 24% from 16%. In addition, this age group began to break its reliance on parents for benefits information, which fell to 42% from 60%.   

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