Younger workers may be less aware than older workers about the need to buy extra disability insurance protection.

Researchers at the consulting arm of Aon Corp., Chicago, have published figures hinting at differences between the generations in a report based on a survey of 83 employers of all sizes.

Aon researchers asked participating employers about which voluntary insurance products have been popular with baby boomers and which have been popular with members of Generation X.

The researchers put workers ages 45 to 60 in the boomer category and workers ages 25 to 40 in the GenX category.

Perhaps because employers are more likely to offer employer-paid life insurance than employer-paid disability insurance, participating employers said employee-paid, voluntary disability insurance tends to be more popular than employee-paid life insurance. But the researchers found a much bigger generational gap in voluntary disability sales than in voluntary life sales.

About 23% of the survey participants said voluntary life is popular with their boomer employees, and 24% said voluntary life is popular with their GenXers.

Meanwhile, 45% of the participants said voluntary disability is popular with boomer employees, while only 37% said voluntary disability is popular with GenXers.

For boomers, long term care insurance is the third most popular voluntary benefit, but for GenXers, individual home and automobile liability insurance is the third most popular voluntary benefit, the Aon researchers note.