Earlier this week, I conducted a continuing education class onvoluntary benefits — from the employer’s viewpoint — for theNebraska chapter of CEBS. A mixture of employer benefitsprofessionals, brokers, consultants and insurance company personnelattended the session. One of the employers represented a largecompany with several thousand associates.

Their benefits manager has been thinking about offeringvoluntary benefits on a “Lending Tree” approach. The idea he’sconsidering is whether to set up a portal that would offercategories of voluntary options to their associates, where there isa menu of available product providers for each product type.

This would follow the Lending Tree approach and is, in fact, theway mutual fund options often are offered in 401(k) plans. He askedwhether this would be a good idea. My reaction is that while thisis not the typical method of offering voluntary benefits, it’s aninteresting concept.

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