Financial wellness programs are a hit with big employers, and sales are still growing.
Executives from Prudential Financial Inc., and benefits firms that work closely with Prudential, talked about the rise of financial wellness programs Monday in New York, at a Prudential press briefing.
The Prudential executives are not releasing any data on how the programs affect actual sales of products such as annuities, voluntary life insurance, or voluntary disability insurance. But Chuck Brousseau, head of distribution at Prudential’s group insurance unit, said that about 300 employers have already adopted one of Prudential’s major financial wellness programs, the Prudential Pathways financial wellness seminar program.
“The subscriber rate has continued to climb,” Brousseau said.
Craig Guiffre, managing director at American Benefits Consulting, a benefits consulting firm, said he sees a tremendous level of interest in financial wellness at the employers he serves.
“The buy in that market is different than the retail buy,” Guiffre said.
A financial wellness program has to be about education that can make an employee’s life better, and that can make the employer’s results better by making the employee more productive, Guiffre said.
But Brousseau said surveys show that U.S. workers have an obvious need for financial wellness programs. He noted that one survey found that many workers have saved nothing for retirement.
“They’re not financially well,” Brousseau said.
Jeanna Cavanaugh, head of strategic marketing at Prudential’s workplace solutions group, said another challenge is developing tools that can provide useful, personalized advice for the five different generations of people who may now be in an employer’s workforce.
Here are four other benefits trends speakers talked about at the briefing.
2. Defining “financial wellness,” and measure returns in investments in financial wellness
Robyn Credico, the defined contribution consulting leader for North America at Willis Towers Watson, said that, for human resources and benefits managers, one result of the rise of financial wellness programs is a need to develop financial wellness program performance measures.
One approach is to look at whether workers are retiring at the best time, both for themselves personally and for the employer’s efforts to optimize productivity and benefits costs, Credico said.
Employers might also like to see how financial wellness programs, and medical wellness programs, affect workers’ post-retirement health, Credico said.
“You can’t always get the data to support [the programs'] return on investment,” Credico said.
Prudential recently asked financial professionals about how often they think employers are measuring the performance of financial wellness programs. Half of the benefits brokers, and 32% of the retirement plan advisors, said they think few employers, or no employers, with financial wellness programs measure the performance of the programs.