Most employers today are struggling to maintain an attractive employee benefit program. With the economy in recession and energy costs at an all-time high, employers are finding it increasingly difficult to balance the expense of an attractive employee benefit program with the everyday cost of staying in business. Yet the ability to attract and retain quality employees is often tied to the benefits an employer provides.
Offering voluntary benefits is one of the answers to maintaining or enhancing a benefit program, and one of the best values you can offer your workers to help improve their financial security. Voluntary benefits are employee-paid—an employer just has to provide the employee with the ability to payroll-deduct the premium and a few minutes of the workday for the benefit to be explained and enrolled. Many benefits are available on a voluntary basis, including disability, dental, supplemental health and critical illness benefits, but the most popular is voluntary life insurance.
As a benefits specialist, I often ask in employee meetings, “When was the last time a life insurance agent has been in your home to review your family’s life insurance program?”
It is extremely disturbing to find that most employees have never had the need for life insurance discussed with them. They often say they are confused by insurance or intimidated to invite a life insurance agent into their home for fear of being pressured into making a purchase. For many, the only life insurance they have is the group term life insurance they are provided at work. In almost every case, that amount is not enough to provide for their loved ones in the event of their death.
Experts recommend five to eight times annual earnings in life insurance protection. Most workers simply do not have the protection needed to provide for final expenses, college and emergency funds, or a monthly income for their survivors.
There are many advantages for the employee purchasing payroll-deducted life insurance through his or her employment:
- Easy and convenient method of payment—payroll deduction.
- Lower-cost group rates.
- Guaranteed issue amounts are available. An employee can usually purchase up to a certain amount with no medical questions asked and cannot be denied coverage. Additional amounts can be purchased with express underwriting.
- Coverage may generally be purchased for an employee’s spouse, children and even grandchildren.
- Accidental death and dismemberment coverage is included.
- Accelerated death benefit coverage is generally included where a terminally ill employee can access a portion of the benefit while still living.
- Premiums may be waived if the employee becomes disabled.
- Portability of coverage. An employee may keep the coverage if they change employment.
A voluntary life insurance program paid for by payroll deduction is a winning solution for both the employer looking to provide quality benefits and the workforce.
Employees feel comfortable that the employer has looked at the market and chosen a quality company and product. Holding group meetings alleviates the fear of being pressured, and employees have access to the professional advice they most likely would not get on their own.
Employers benefit from an appreciative workforce and from the satisfaction of knowing they are helping to provide for the security of employees and their families. Best of all, it is a valuable benefit provided at little or no cost to the bottom line. iBi