Although growth in the voluntary benefits market has slowed in the past few years, there are still large opportunities, concludes Ron Neyer, a senior analyst at LIMRA International and author of its new report, “Analyzing the Size and Potential of Voluntary Worksite Benefits.”
As many as 363,000 U.S. businesses with 10 or more employees are thinking about offering a new voluntary benefit within the next 2 years, according to the report by LIMRA, Windsor, Conn.
That could translate into up to 45 million employees gaining access to new voluntary benefits in that 2-year time frame.
LIMRA’s study includes both existing voluntary benefit customers and employers that did not yet sponsor voluntary plans for their workforce.
The research suggests that many workers who do not yet have voluntary benefits might soon gain access to them, says Neyer. “In addition, employers that currently sponsor voluntary plans appear willing to add additional product lines,” he says.
About half of all large employers (1,000 or more employees) are considering expanding their voluntary benefit offerings, despite the fact that most already make at least one benefit available, LIMRA found.
The greatest opportunities for worksite marketers are among employers in service industries nationwide. Service firms now represent nearly half of all employers with at least 10 employees, Neyer points out.
LIMRA asked employers to express their interest in buying specific voluntary benefits within 2 years on a 5-point scale, with 1 being not at all interested and 5 being very interested.
Employers were most interested in adding dental, vision and supplemental medical products, LIMRA found. They also showed considerable interest in medical, disability (short- and long-term), life and cancer insurance.
Among employers with at least one voluntary product in their benefits plan, the strongest interest was in vision, STD and life insurance. Those with no voluntary products currently showed significant interest in dental, medical, LTD and cancer insurance.