Participants in the voluntary benefits industry are expressing less confidence about future sales.

Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc., Avon, Conn., has published that finding in a report on a voluntary market confidence index that the firm updates every 6 months. The firm bases index calculations on results from surveys of voluntary market carriers, brokers, and vendors. The firm asks participants about their expectations for sales growth, industry profits and employee enthusiasm for voluntary products.

The index fell to 98.4 at mid-year, from 99.9 in mid-2010, Eastbridge says.

A majority of the participants said first-half results were solid: 40% said first-half sales exceeded expectations, and only 22% said sales were below expectations.

But participants are now more pessimistic about second-half results, and especially about industry profitability, according to Bonnie Brazzell, an Eastbridge vice president.

- Allison Bell

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