There's a lot of buzz in the benefits world about change. Growthof sales in the voluntary market is often described as the productof change — change in employee demographics, change in the economy,change from PPACA and so on.

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Amid all this talk about change, it's easy to forget whyvoluntary still prospers — and that's because the need foradditional family protection hasn't changed.

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Here is a perfect example. In 2004 MetLife published a piececalled “Patterns in Group Life Insurance” based on their study ofemployee benefit trends. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Employees continue to lack life insurance, and those who arecovered are significantly underinsured.

  • Concern about the financial impact of premature death is higheramong the life prime needs segment (employees with spouses/childrenat home).

  • Female breadwinners have lower personal income and are lesslikely to be married, which underscores why their concern about thefinancial impact of premature death is higher than their malecounterparts.

  • Benefits satisfaction is strongly correlated with employeeloyalty and overall job satisfaction.

This set of findings could have been from a 2014 study. Allthese drivers of change have done over the past 10 years issolidify the situation.

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Another insight in the study is characterized by the headline ofone section: “Despite concerns about income loss, inertiapersists.” The study goes on to point out that even though themajority of employees are extremely concerned about their family'sfinancial security, almost half have done nothing to buy neededprotection.

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Even people experiencing a life event such as a marriage orbirth rarely use that opportunity to upgrade their benefits. Again,10 years after the report, do any of us think most employees haveheard our messages and taken action to preserve their financialsecurity? (I vote no.)

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The study concludes with insights very consistent with today'sthinking.

  • The workplace continues to be the main source for lifeinsurance.

  • Benefit communications are important and should be tailored toan employee's needs.

Both the report discussed and my column are about 10 years old.I hope someone archives this specific column for another decade. Isuspect it will still ring true. As the French say, plus cachange, plus c’est la meme chose.

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