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Voluntary Benefits Provide Vital Financial Protections

New York, NY –  The pandemic’s silver lining may well be the heightened awareness many working people have regarding the value of various insurance products. For union members, who rely on their organizations to provide benefits such as health insurance, the pandemic has made many realize that there are some insurance products that should be considered even if it means is paying for them directly. These products are known as voluntary/workplace benefits, and they have been increasing in demand steadily.

Growing Demand

According to LIMRA’s latest workplace benefit research:

  • Life insurance premiums increased 29% in the third quarter of 2021 over Q3 2020  reaching $646 million.
  • Disability insurance premiums increased 11%  in the third quarter of 2021 over Q3 2020 reaching $515 million.
  • Supplemental health insurance increased 16% in the third quarter of 2021 over Q3 2020 reaching $4.4 million.

Like these products, other voluntary benefits are also increasing in sales. Supporting this trend are plan sponsors that are expanding their workplace benefit offerings in growing numbers. The recent Willis Towers Watson “Emerging Trends in Health Care Survey” found that 80% of the 238 employers surveyed, who employ a total of 3.7 million workers, 94% believed that voluntary benefits were important to their organization’s member/employee value proposition.

Meeting Vital Needs for All Generations

What especially appeals to working people about voluntary benefits is the ability to purchase products that meet their individual life stage needs.  Today’s multigenerational workforce has Baby Boomers working alongside Generations X, Y & Z, each with its own priorities. Baby Boomers, preparing for retirement and considering greater medical needs, are most interested in permanent life, disability, and critical care insurance products. Their younger counterparts are more concerned with protecting their young families and opt for voluntary portable term life insurance and accident coverage. Other voluntary benefits, which address other needs of workers, include: dental, hearing, vision, legal, and identity protection. Each has its role in promoting better health (as having insurance tends to make individuals more likely to seek medical care) and/or financial security.

The number one cause of U.S. personal bankruptcies is unpaid medical bills stemming from a critical illness; which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affects 6 in 10 Americans. If those individuals were protected with critical illness insurance, bankruptcy and its long-term negative impacts could be avoided.  This is just one example of the value voluntary benefits provide.

John Thornton is Executive Vice President of the Amalgamated Life Insurance Company.

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