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Employees opt for immediate over long-term benefits

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When it comes to benefits, employees want them now as opposed over the long term.

In the Mercer Making Smart Benefit Choices survey of 10,400 employees in 10 worldwide markets found employees tend to select benefits that provide instant gratification over long-term value.

In seven of the 10 survey markets, paid time off (PTO) was among the top three employee choices. Only six out of 10 markets listed health-related benefits among their top three choices.

Employers say they would like to give employees more decision-making power over their benefits options, but the survey results show employees have yet to find a balance between short- and long-term value.

“Employees valuing more time off and increased pay in the current stress-filled economic environment may be understandable, but there are other benefits that have the potential to create more income protection through health benefits and income replacement through retirement and savings vehicles,” said Dave Rahill, president of Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “This challenge puts even more pressure on employers to deeply understand and communicate the value of various benefits to their employees so they can make smart choices.”

Closer to home, U.S. employees said they were most willing to pay for disability, life and auto insurance. Accident and hospital indemnity insurance were also relatively popular, while legal assistance and identity theft insurance ranked near the bottom.

Disability insurance appeals more to those aged 55-64 and transportation industry employees; retail discounts to young singles living independently and households with children; and hospital indemnity insurance to those aged 65 and older and senior managers. Auto insurance ranks highly among those that work more than 50 hours a week and those in the high-tech industry; homeowner insurance among those with household incomes between $50,000 and $60,000; and pet insurance among those in professional services.

In other industry news:

National Interstate Corporation (Nasdaq: NATL) entered into a $100 million, five-year unsecured Credit Agreement with Fifth Third Bank, as administrative agent and lead arranger, and U.S. Bank National Association, as documentation agent.

The company has the ability to increase the line of credit to $125 million subject to the agreement’s accordion feature. The credit agreement replaces an existing $50 million credit facility. As of Sept. 30, 2012, National Interstate’s debt to total equity ratio was 5.7 percent. The credit facility may be used for general corporate purposes, including items such as working capital and acquisitions.

Mashburn Roth SchecterEmployee benefits advisory firm Pacific Resources made several role changes for some members of its senior leadership team.

Kimberly Mashburn-Lee is now vice president, Strategic Client Solutions. In this position, she will be in charge of planning and managing all strategic joint development activities for Pacific Resources’ Absence & Productivity practice. This includes the development of short and long-range strategic plans, strengths and gap analyses, and identifying business opportunities to enhance productivity solutions through internal development, strategic acquisitions and through the creation of strategic partnerships to meet immediate and emerging client needs. She will continue to serve as the company’s subject matter expert for client absence and productivity projects, and other enhanced initiatives. Previously, she was the vice president of Client Relations for Pacific Resources.

Neale Hegarty was promoted to vice president, Operations & Technology. He is responsible for all the administrative, operational and technology functions of the company. This includes business operations, office locations, vendor relations and overseeing the company’s enterprise-wide customer relationship management system. He will also be exploring and developing ways to leverage technology to enhance the client and employee experience. With this promotion, Hegarty joins Pacific Resources’ senior leadership team. Hegarty was formerly an account director with Pacific Resources, overseeing the management of several top tier Fortune 500 client accounts.  

Cheryl Roth will now serve as vice president, Client Relationships, responsible for leadership of all the account teams at Pacific Resources, and ensuring customer service to clients. Previously, Roth served as the company’s vice president of Operations & Business Services, leading all essential business operations including human resources and benefits, hiring and staffing, service delivery, IT and administration.  

Carole Schecter has taken the role of vice president, Strategic Human Resources Services, responsible for all aspects of employee engagement, including talent management and development, and the company’s Commitment to Community Program.  An employee benefits professional for almost 30 years with both senior corporate experience and a legal background, Schecter is positioned to help shape strategic human resources and provide advisory services to clients. Prior to this position, she served as Pacific Resources’ general counsel and will retain that responsibility. 

The Philadelphia Business Journal honored Yvette D. Bright, executive vice president and chief transformation officer at Independence Blue Cross (IBC), with a 2012 Women of Distinction Award for her outstanding professional achievements.

In 2007, Bright received the Candace Award for Women of Achievement from the South Jersey chapter of the National Coalition of Black Women in recognition for her work in developing best business practices in corporate America, and in helping others succeed in the corporate industry through mentoring and giving back to the community. She was named to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Leadership Class of 1998 for her community service and philanthropic contributions.

Bright oversees human resources, information services, service operations, portfolio and performance management, and a multi-year initiative to enhance the customer experience and lower operating costs through migration to a new operating platform. Since joining IBC in 1991, Bright has led the company’s growing eBusiness initiatives. In 2005, she was appointed senior vice president for eBusiness and operations and assumed oversight of all operational areas, including claims processing, member services, and enrollment. She was named senior vice president and chief administrative officer in 2009.

Bright served several years on the board of Summit Children’s Program and on the board of the Philadelphia Children’s Theatre. Currently, she serves on the board of the Walnut Street Theatre.

Symetra named John R. Rafferty vice president of Marketing for the company’s Retirement Division. Rafferty comes to Symetra from American General Life Insurance Company where he was vice president of Independent Distribution Marketing. Prior to American General, his roles included over 20 years of combined experience in annuity marketing at MassMutual Financial Group and Aetna Life Insurance & Annuity Company.

New York Life promoted Michael Del Secolo to senior vice president and chief technology officer, reporting to Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Sue Ericksen.

Del Secolo now serves as chief technology officer and has oversight of technology strategy. He is responsible for guiding the development of the company’s technical strategy, research and innovation. Del Secolo joined New York Life in 2010 as vice president of architecture. In 2011 he added responsibility for engineering, leading the management of IT architecture and engineering for the company.

Prior to joining New York Life, Del Secolo worked at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), where he held positions including vice president of IT engineering, vice president of Internet and network services, and vice president and chief information security officer, where he was responsible for designing and implementing infrastructures for ADP’s Web hosting and Software as a Service (SaaS) initiative. Before that, he held roles at Sea-Land Service, Inc., Salomon Brothers, Inc., and RAV Communications.

Del Secolo is a graduate of Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree. 


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