Benefits enrollment season is here.
While employers and employees will primarily be focused on medical benefits, now is the perfect time to remind them of the value of life insurance. Increasing voluntary life insurance enrollment can be a challenge for brokers, because employees often don’t understand the coverage they may automatically receive from their employer, the coverage they actually need, and the gap between employer-provided and personal coverage.
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Regardless of age, income or marital status, life insurance is a universal benefit that delivers financial security and protects an employee’s family interests in the event something happens.
As you consider your upcoming benefits conversations, consider how you’ll handle the following four objections to life insurance, which can often be barriers to purchase.
1. ‘I don’t need it. I’m healthy and careful.’
It’s important for employees recognize the need to prepare for the unexpected.
Group life insurance is often provided as a standard employee benefit as part of an employer’s base benefits package. A base life insurance offering often comes with a set benefit amount, which is typically in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 or nearly equivalent to a year’s earnings. While a $25,000 life insurance benefit may sound like a lot of money to some employees, it likely is not a sufficient amount of coverage in most cases.
When discussing life insurance, remind employees that life insurance coverage would need to supplement the income their families would miss out on if they died. Help make this more understandable by discussing common expenses that their salary goes toward, such as mortgage or rent payments, car payments and utilities. In this context, $25,000 may not go very far to help ensure long-term financial stability for an employee’s family.
2. ‘I can’t afford it.’
Employees should know that life insurance is probably not as expensive as they think.
Employees of any age may be hesitant to add more bills to their responsibilities, but life insurance can be surprisingly affordable compared with the value it provides. With employer-sponsored life insurance coverage costing on average $20 (depending on one’s age range) per paycheck, help equate the monthly or annual cost to something employees know more about: eating lunch out, a new pair of shoes or an evening out on the town. Not only that, life insurance costs are typically covered through a payroll deduction from an employee’s paycheck, making it one less bill they’ll have to worry about.
3. ‘That’s a boring way to spend my money.’
Make sure employees understand that they can have fun and have life insurance too.
Making the case for employees to pay for additional benefits — including voluntary life insurance options — can be a tough sell. Employees may already feel stretched thin financially, or focused on saving for big-ticket items, and unaware how life insurance can help provide an additional financial buffer. It’s important to explain that purchasing life insurance doesn’t mean all extracurricular activities must stop. Consider highlighting how life insurance can ensure a rainy-day savings fund stays intact and that an employee’s family isn’t caught in a precarious financial situation.
4. ‘I’m single.’
Show employees that life insurance has value for all employees, not just for married employees with families.
Even though different generations of employees like Gen Xers and millennials have approached getting married and having children in a different way than previous generations, it doesn’t lessen their need for the financial protection that life insurance provides. One way to help illustrate this point is by reminding employees — regardless of marital status — that there are expenses their extended families could incur after their death; for example, funeral expenses and private loan payments. Life insurance can help ensure these responsibilities wouldn’t fall on loved ones’ shoulders.
Another way to help make the need more apparent is by promoting the additional services that come with life insurance policies in states where these offerings are available. These extras are beneficial for any employee, including travel assistance, which can help if an unexpected situation pops up away from home, or financial planning tools, which could include anything from identity theft guidance to financial calculators. These tools can help keep an employee’s financial house in order or make it easier on beneficiaries to help settle financial matters.
With employees of different ages, backgrounds, income levels and marital status in your upcoming enrollment meetings, make it your goal this enrollment season to break down common barriers and help better educate employees on the universal need for important life insurance protection.
Jennifer Gassaway is a product manager with Standard Insurance Company. She has managed The Standard’s group life insurance product for the past 10 years.