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Voluntary sales up 9% last year

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Voluntary benefits grew 9 percent in 2013, totaling $4.3 billion, according to new LIMRA data.

Voluntary health product sales were $2.6 billion in 2013, a 13 percent increase from last year. Accident, critical illness and vision products grew by double-digits for the third straight year to drive overall growth in the voluntary health market. Term and whole life insurance sales were down most of the year, but rebounded significantly in the fourth quarter, ending the year up 2 percent at $1.4 billion.

In a blog post, LIMRA executives said with changes to benefits plans, especially with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, voluntary benefits are “the best option for employees to maintain their overall insurance coverage.”

“For carriers, worksite sales are an opportunity to efficiently reach the middle market,” the blog post read. “In particular, LIMRA has observed that real growth opportunity exists for those carriers who can find an efficient way to reach small employers.”

Other research has been in support of growing voluntary benefit sales, mainly due to PPACA. Prudential’s annual employee benefits survey, released earlier this month, also found the ongoing rollout of the law is spurring employers to take action within their benefit plans, primarily by offering voluntary benefits.

Eastbridge Consulting Group’s year-end Voluntary Confidence Index found that 94 percent of carriers, brokers, and vendors expect voluntary sales to increase over the next 12 months.