Trevor Garbers has a ringside seat on sales of voluntary accident coverage.
“Accident coverage is definitely in the top three voluntary products that employers request,” says Garbers, vice president at Chicago-based insurance company HUB International. “We are seeing double-digit growth, year over year, in both our voluntary accident sales and in the industry, and that doesn't look as if it's going to stop anytime soon.”
The majority of plans pay a lump sum to covered individuals who sustain an accident. The injury and its treatment determine the payout. A minority of voluntary accident policies pay a proportion of the actual out-of-pocket costs of treating the injured individual.
Beneficiaries can do whatever they like with the money. For those with less-robust plans — a group that often includes employees with health savings accounts—Culbertson says the cash can help cushion the financial blow represented by the out-of-pocket costs of medical treatment.
Unum’s product evolution has tracked that trend, Culbertson reports. In 2004, the firm offered an individual benefits schedule. In 2011, it debuted a group-based product that has some employer-paid options.
In addition to serving as a boost to employee morale, group offerings are often flexible enough to let employers offer plans that make the most sense, based on their overall health care strategies. “Maybe they have a PPO today but know that they'll be on a high-deductible plan in five years. They might build an accident plan toward that high-deductible plan,” Culbertson says.