Confidence in the future of the voluntary industry is rising, according to a new survey.

Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc., Avon, Conn., published this finding in a summary of results from a “confidence index” that Eastbridge calculates semi-annually. Based on responses from carriers, brokers, and vendors, the single-number index compares current results to a baseline measure.

Eastbridge’s confidence index increased to 102.1 from 99.9 at the mid-year survey, the company said.

“The index increased to its highest level since December of 2006,” says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. “We are pleased to see that those in the voluntary industry believe the economy is moving back to normal and opportunities for [voluntary sales] will be increased.”

“Two of the three of the key measures for the index were up this time,” adds Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge. “The third was just slightly below what we saw at the mid-year survey. The biggest reason for the big jump in the index number is that the percentage of people expecting sales and profitability to increase ‘a lot’ jumped up significantly.”

Eastbridge says the index is calculated using three “expectation measures” about the voluntary industry: sales growth, industry profitability and employee enthusiasm about voluntary products.

–Warren S. Hersch