Basic employer-paid life insurance is a key foundation to manyU.S. workers’ financial safety nets. However, while thetypical one or two times salary benefit might be enough coveragefor some employees, others will have family and financialsituations that require more. Offering supplemental lifeinsurance on a voluntary basis is a cost-effective way foremployers to help employees obtain the right amount of insurancefor their needs. It is also a way to enhance the group lifebenefits program as an employee retention tool – an end resultwhich employers may not realize. MetLife’s 9thAnnual Employee Benefits Trends Study found that 59% of U.S.workers say non-medical benefits such as dental, disability andlife insurance are important factors in driving loyalty towardtheir employer, however, only 37% of employers thought so.

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Employers want to know that the benefits they offer will be usedby employees. With a little bit of effort,employers can implement a supplemental life insurance program thatstays top of mind with employees, enjoys and benefits from greaterparticipation rates, and helps reduce the number of underinsuredworkers—a win-win proposition that also has a great advantage foremployers. Employees in the study who report that they arevery satisfied with their workplace benefits are about three timesas likely to feel more loyal toward their employer compared withthose who are very dissatisfied with their benefits program.

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Three Steps to Success

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Stephen Pontecorvo, vice president of Group Life Products forMetLife, suggests that brokers and consultants can provide the mostvalue for clients by focusing their efforts on evaluation,enhancement and education as three core areas for success:

  1. Evaluation: First, brokers can help theiremployer clients determine the extent to which employees areunderinsured by conducting an analysis of the current lifeinsurance plan’s participation and coverage levels. Thisanalysis can help to understand which employees are mostunderinsured, and key demographic differences among the workforce.Then, brokers can help clients develop communication approaches tomeet these specific needs.

  2. Enhance the Group Life Benefits Package: Thebest way for employers to meet the needs of a diverse workforce isto offer a comprehensive life insurance program that features bothterm and permanent coverage options, and adequate coverage amountsto meet varying needs. Additional features, such asface-to-face will preparation and estate resolution services, areanother way to help employees meet their evolving needs today andtomorrow.

  3. Education, Personalized Communications and EnrollmentSupport: Employers can help workers make informeddecisions about their unique needs by providing access todecision-support tools and educational materials, such as onlinecalculators and tutorials. Employers also need to remind employeesthat certain life events may trigger the need to take action andreevaluate coverage levels. Brokers should help clients takeinto account the demographics of their workforce when developingcommunications – specifically for example, they should be awarethat women participate in group life insurance plans at lower ratesthan their male counterparts. According to the MetLife study,working women who have life insurance are generally insured foronly twice their household income compared to men, who have aboutthree times their household income in coverage.

“Effective communications are key to maximizing the value of thesupplemental life insurance program for all stakeholders,” saysPontecorvo. “MetLife’s study found that 55% of all employeesdo not find their benefits materials to be clear and comprehensive,and only about one in four is satisfied with their benefitscommunications. This represents a great opportunity forimprovement.”

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Employees say they would like to see:

  • more frequent communications (34%);
  • information tailored to life events (39%); and
  • benefits information on the internet (44%).

Appetite for Voluntary Benefits

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Nearly two-thirds of employees in the study say they valuevoluntary benefits as a way to obtain benefits that meet theirpersonal needs. In fact, more than half (52%) of employeessaid they are interested in a wider array of voluntary benefitsthat they can choose and pay for on their own. That numberclimbs to 62% for employees with children who are minors – a primeneeds demographic for supplemental life insurance. The majority ofemployees recognize the cost-savings and time-savings of havingvoluntary benefits available in the workplace.

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“Offering access to supplemental life insurance coverage throughthe workplace is a way that employers can help all employeesachieve coverage levels to meet their personal needs in acost-effective way,” adds Pontecorvo. “Employers who help theiremployees understand the importance of financial protection andsecure the appropriate amount of insurance enhance the perceivedvalue of their group life benefits program and are also likely togain competitive advantages through increased employee loyalty andgoodwill.”

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Educational Resources

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MetLife offers a wide array of educational tools and resourcesto help empower employees to make the most out of an employer’sbenefits plan -- by helping them understand what type of lifeinsurance and amount are right for them. Among these are aLife Insurance Tutorial with engaging visual and audiocomponents that can help answer the most common questionsindividuals may have about life insurance, allowing employees toclick on the topics that interest them most; a Life Insurance NeedsCalculator that can help individuals understand the right type andamount of coverage for their unique needs; a Life InsuranceSelector which is an interactive, quiz-like tool that asksemployees to answer questions that can help them understanddifferent types of life insurance; and planning guides thathelp employees document the framework of their financial plan,acting as a repository for personal financialinformation.

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For more information about MetLife’s educational resources formaximizing the value of a group life benefits program, clickhere

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Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 200 Park Ave, New York, NY10166

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