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Time Is the Most Popular Perk: Unum

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For typical U.S. workers, the most popular non-insurance, non-retirement employee benefit may be just about anything that can add more hours to the day, or more days to the year.

Unum Group has published data supporting that conclusion in a summary of results from a new survey of 1,227 working adults in the United States.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company gave survey participants a list of 15 perks that get a lot of media attention and asked the survey participants to choose their five favorite perks.

Three of the five most frequently picked perks — paid family leave, flexible or remote work options and sabbatical leave — are benefits related to schedule flexibility and absence management.

(Related: Starbucks to Spend $250 Million on Worker Benefits After Tax Cut)

Paid family leave came first. It was picked by 58% of the participants. About 55% of the participants chose flexible and remote worked options as a benefit, and 38% chose access to sabbatical leave.

The top-ranked perk that was not directly related to time was professional development benefits: 39% of the participants chose that benefit.

Student loan repayment benefits ranked sixth. Only 35% of the survey participants chose that as a benefit.

Here are the selection percentages for some of the other benefits included:

On-site healthy snacks: 28%

Financial planning resources: 27%

Pet insurance: 15%

Health coaching: 14%

Unum reports that, even when its analysts broke out the results by age group, and looked only at results for millennials, paid family leave outranked student loan repayment benefits.

About 64% of the millennials in the sample chose paid family leave benefits; 55% chose student loan repayment benefits.

Why These Numbers Could Matter to Agents

Unum is best known as an issuer of group disability plans.

Low interest rates have hurt insurers’ ability to earn good rates on their bonds and offer long-term disability insurance at affordable prices.

Unum has been trying to increase sales of products and services that are related to disability insurance but less sensitive to the effects of low interest rates, such as time-tracking and leave-management services. In March, Unum acquired LeaveLogic, a company that offers cloud-based leave management administration services.

In some cases, when states adopt paid family leave mandates, companies like Unum may also be able to sell commercial insurance plans that help employers cover the costs of offering paid leave.

Agents in the group market may find that offering leave management services can be a way to increase cross-selling.

Agents in the individual market may find that clients facing health problems or difficult family caregiving responsibilities have leave benefits they don’t know about.

— Read 5 Paid Family Leave Possibilities, for Agentson ThinkAdvisor.

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