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Windsor, CT, August 30, 2006 — The U.S. small-business market is ripe for growth of employee benefits, with about 10 percent of the nation's small firms potentially poised to add benefits or offer them for the first time, according to LIMRA International.

In a new report, Growth Potential of the Small-Business Market, LIMRA said the current tight labor market, relatively low penetration for group life, health, and retirement benefits, and general economic trends will motivate small businesses (1 to 99 employees) to increase their benefit offerings.
 
"Among the 5 million U.S. small businesses, only 2 percent plan to discontinue offering benefits to employees," said Shawn P. Flynn, a LIMRA analyst specializing in corporate and business markets. "On the other hand, approximately 10 percent of all small businesses plan to add a benefit or are considering introducing one over the next few years.

"As the economy continues to improve and small businesses compete for new workers, we can expect reasonable growth in both group insurance and retirement benefits in this market," Flynn said.
 
CONTACT:
Howard S. Drescher, (860) 285-7875, hdrescher@limra.com
Catherine Theroux, (860) 285-7787, ctheroux@limra.com

About LIMRA International
LIMRA International is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization that helps more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA International at www.limra.com

Media Contacts

Catherine Theroux

Director, Public Relations

Work Phone: (860) 285-7787

Mobile Phone: (703) 447-3257

ctheroux@limra.com

Brooke Lacey

Public Relations Specialist

Work Phone: (860) 298-3920

Mobile Phone: (413) 530-6184

blacey@limra.com