CI Strategies For The Workplace: The Sooner The Better

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As health care costs soar, many companies are cutting back on employee health care benefits, leaving yawning gaps just waiting to be filled by an enterprising producer.

With increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with serious illnesses, the time is ripe to sell critical illness protection as part of a voluntary employee benefits package.

The first step in this process is to obtain the support of the employer, typically the benefits or human resources manager.

You can do this by identifying the gap in existing coverage and noting that these benefits can be enhanced at no extra cost to the company. At the same time, point out that this additional protection may also serve to boost employee retention levels and provide a competitive edge. The managers role is simply to support the program and to provide employees access to an initial sales presentation.

In many cases, you already own the account, so you will be attempting to up-sell the client. However, you can also approach voluntary CI coverage as a new business opportunity.

For example, use it to reach employers who do not offer it as part of a voluntary benefits package. That may prove to be just the beginning. Once you get your foot in the door with voluntary coverage, you may be able to open it wide enough to admit your core benefits package and services, as well.

The sooner you get started, the better–before your competitors get the same idea. Just as you might approach their clients for new business, they could be doing the same with yours!

Once youve sold the client on the benefits of CI coverage, the next step is to sell it to the employees.

A good starting point is to cite the statistics indicating the strong possibility of being diagnosed with a critical illness during ones lifetime and the good news of todays increasing rates of survival (see chart).

Also point out that the cost of many treatments and other expenses associated with a critical illness are not covered by traditional insurance. The American Cancer Society estimates that 66% of the cost of cancer treatment is not covered, so CI insurance fills a significant gap between disability and life insurance.

Then discuss the other advantages of this coverage. Focus on its flexibility. Point out that CI protection provides cash up front, paid in a lump sum to be used for anything the policyholder wishes–travel to receive treatment, additional prescription drugs, home health care, child care, the mortgage, even a convalescent vacation or whatever it takes to get through the recovery.

Emphasize that CI insurance provides peace of mind to help someone cope during a difficult time. The focus is on getting well. After all, it is devastating enough to have to deal with the diagnosis of a serious ailment without having to worry about having sufficient funds to cover the fallout.

When it comes to worksite marketing, producers need to be able to provide a variety of solutions that will cover as many illnesses as possible and meet the needs of the widest range of employees. A CI plan is yet another option to complement specified disease plans.

Todays labor force is made up of an increasing number of women, single parents, dual-income families, and aging baby-boomers, making working Americans especially vulnerable to a loss of income due to catastrophic illness. CI coverage sold either as a rider to a life product or as a stand-alone product represents an ideal opportunity for employers to beef up their health care benefits and for producers to up-sell existing clients or acquire new business.

is assistant vice president of Aon Consulting, New York, N.Y. His e-mail is Bryan_Lotto@aoncons.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, June 16, 2003. Copyright 2003 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved. Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.