I've spent many years in the voluntary business, and there's no question in my mind that it's in the midst of an exciting shift and growth spurt. 

In recent years, there's been a movement to "true group" coverage for limited benefit insurance products such as critical illness and accident. With this shift, employers can provide consistent coverage to all employees, have a simplified billing process and get away from being in the middle of the claims process. This next generation of voluntary allows employers to offer employees the coverage they desire without significant additional work for the employer. At ING U.S., the response has been overwhelmingly positive to our new "Compass" suite of voluntary products. 

The group voluntary business is growing at a strong clip, with sales surpassing individual voluntary sales for the first time in 2011 and accounting for 55 percent of business sold, according to the 2012 Eastbridge Consulting Group U.S. Worksite Voluntary Sales Report.  The same study found that group voluntary sales increased by a whopping 148 percent from 2000 to 2011, compared to an increase of 31 percent for individual voluntary sales. The study's group sales figures include products filed on a group platform.

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