Many benefits buyers say they want high-quality service from group insurers but are not sure whether any group insurer is much different from its competitors.[@@]

Researchers at Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J., have published data supporting that conclusion in a report on a survey of 1,105 executives responsible for group life and group disability insurance plans at employers with at least 100 employees.

The researchers found that 77% of the executives say they prefer getting ‘superior service at a competitive price’ to getting the lowest possible premiums.

But 58% of the executives said group products are ‘all basically the same,’ and 53% said nothing really sets one group life or group disability insurer apart from its competitors.

Prudential organized the survey in connection with efforts to develop a new group insurance service program.

The program is supposed to cut the medical underwriting time to 5 business days for 95% of group life short-form applications.

Prudential also is offering to process 97% of life claims and 90% of short-term disability claims within 5 business days.