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The COVID-19 outbreak has severely disrupted the U.S. business market, and in turn, has the potential to significantly impact the workplace benefits industry. Nearly two-thirds of employers that offer insurance benefits were either temporarily closed or operating at reduced capacity in late May, and more than half either had made or were considering making staffing changes such as furloughs or hiring freezes.

These operational changes could make it difficult for businesses to continue administering their benefit plans and reduce the number of employees who have access to workplace coverages. At the same time, the pandemic is bringing the importance of various insurance protections into sharper focus. To learn more about how COVID-19 will influence employers’ plans for their benefits, LIMRA surveyed over 1,000 U.S. employers that offer benefits in late May 2020.

Although revising their insurance benefit programs is unlikely to be employers’ highest priority in the midst of a pandemic, this crisis is likely to prompt longer-term changes for some businesses. Approximately one quarter of employers say the coronavirus outbreak has made them more interested in making changes to their insurance benefit programs within the next 18 months, with large employers and those that have been disrupted by the pandemic more interested in making changes.

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