A LIMRA survey shows that new annualized premium of voluntary benefits (benefits purchased at the worksite) grew 9 percent in 2013, totaling $4.3 billion.
Voluntary health product sales were $2.6 billion in 2013, a 13 percent increase from the prior 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 had slumped for the first nine months of the year and then rebounded in the fourth quarter. Total life sales increased 14 percent in the fourth quarter to end the year up 2 percent with sales reaching $1.4 billion.
Earlier in 2013, LIMRA released a survey of 800 employers to find out how they had planned to navigate the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) Three out of 4 said they have changed or intend to change their medical plan design in the near future. Cost shifting is the most common strategy among the surveyed employers. Sixty percent said they have already or plan to increase employee contributions to the cost of coverage.
With cost shifting and other plan design changes, voluntary benefits become the best option for employees to maintain their overall insurance coverage. LIMRA research found nearly 60 percent of employees prefer to buy health insurance benefits at work and nearly half prefer to buy life insurance through their employer. They like using payroll deduction and they trust their employer has done some vetting on selecting the carriers.
For carriers, worksite sales are an opportunity to efficiently reach the middle market. In particular, LIMRA has observed that real growth opportunity exists for those carriers who can find an efficient way to reach small employers.
The 2013 U.S. Worksite Sales Survey summarizes voluntary benefits product sales of 43 U.S. companies, including 20 of the top 25 carriers.