NU Online News Service, Nov. 28, 12:13 p.m. – Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc., Avon, Conn., predicts insurers will sell more employee-paid, “voluntary” benefits products through traditional employee benefits brokers.

Roughly 70% of benefits brokers already sell some voluntary products, and half of the rest plan to begin selling voluntary products in the near future, Eastbridge says in a new report on the voluntary benefits market.

If a weak economy continues to force employers to tighten their benefits budgets, “brokers will look to voluntary benefits as a way to provide their clients with a wider range of benefits,” Eastbridge says.

Eastbridge says benefits brokers tend to prefer voluntary products that resemble employer-paid group benefits products.

Benefits brokers lead toward voluntary group products and group carriers, Eastbridge adds.