In Dave Willis’ article in the July issue of Rough Notes, he points out that voluntary benefits continue to offer opportunities for agents and brokers, as interest remains strong in voluntary benefits.
He noted that, according to some sources, critical illness insurance is becoming more prevalent and is attracting interest among employers and employees because it complements existing benefits in an era of health care reform and shifting benefits costs, including a migration to high-deductible plan offerings. While interest remains strong in health care-related coverage, but it’s not the only voluntary product enjoying growth. Non-traditional voluntary benefits, such as employee purchase programs and legal plans, are popular.
The article notes that brokers can do well if they become experts and build on their advisory role with employers. They are already quite familiar with the pressures facing clients; as advisors, they can help employers understand the value of using voluntary product options to meet the needs of employees and their families.
Other voluntary benefits – traditional ones, such as critical illness insurance, auto and home insurance; and non-traditional ones, such employee purchase programs and group legal –
are a great way for employers to extend their benefits offerings without incurring additional employer-paid premiums. Offering Purchasing Power’s payroll deduction program allows agents and brokers a way to add value to their clients’ benefits offerings, while increasing revenue in the process.
Another advantage of offering voluntary benefits, according to the article, is the relatively low maintenance required. Many believe the beauty of voluntary benefits is they involve less ongoing customer service than traditional health products and the commission streams grow quickly even after just a few cases.
Willis also points out that one group of workers that may be particularly receptive to voluntary benefits is younger workers. MetLife’s 10th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, released earlier this year, found that 52 percent of employees overall are interested in a wider array of voluntary benefits, but that percentage jumps to 57 percent for Gen Y and Gen X workers. In addition, nearly two-thirds—62 percent—of workers in this age group are willing to shoulder more of the cost of their benefits, rather than lose them.
To effectively deliver comprehensive voluntary benefits solutions to customers, agents and brokers should identify and work with organizations that offer a broad portfolio of benefit programs including payroll deduction programs as well as having expertise with benefits enrollment, administration and claims.