By Judy Buczek, director of group products, life and disability, for Guardian. Originally published on Benefitspro.com
Many people do not voluntarily think about life insurance or have the luxury of working with a financial professional–the only place they learn about and access life insurance is through the workplace.
Employees want to protect what they love most, primarily their family and loved ones. If something were to happen to an employee, an employer-sponsored life insurance policy would help the family manage expenses, including mortgages, car payments, loans and everyday bills that often become a burden when a family member passes away. However, there are other benefits to offering a life insurance policy beyond helping employees prepare for the unexpected.
Considering the tragic circumstances that must happen for life insurance to go into effect, most employees don’t proactively seek out coverage. Many people do not voluntarily think about life insurance or have the luxury of working with a financial professional. Therefore, the only place they learn about and access life insurance is through the workplace.
For the first time in history, more Americans are covered by life insurance through their employer than by individually purchased policies. Fifty-seven percent of life insurance policyholders obtain it exclusively through their workplace. This represents an opportunity for employers to offer life insurance to enhance their benefits packages, attract and retain talent and be there to support an employee’s family through one of life’s toughest situations. Offering a life insurance product sets companies apart from industry peers and provides a unique and valuable resource.
There are several pros to offering life insurance, including:
1. Attract and retain talent in the growing workforce
Today’s job market is rapidly growing, and employers must offer top-notch benefits to attract and retain quality talent. For employers, today’s tight labor market serves as an opportunity to rethink their overall employee benefits packages and how it can be a key differentiator among other companies. This is where a Voluntary Term Life Program can be beneficial to both employers and employees. For employers, it provides a way to complement an employee benefits program without adding significant cost; for a workforce that’s becoming increasingly diverse, it’s a convenient and often less costly way to achieve financial freedom.
2. Enhance employee financial wellness
According to Guardian’s Workplace Benefit Study, more workers indicate they are struggling to meet their goals related to saving for retirement and college, managing debt, and protecting their family in the event of premature death or being out of work for an extended period of time due to a serious illness or injury. The Study also found that the top cause of stress for American workers was their financial situation, yet 1 in 4 working Americans have no life insurance.
Employers are finding that they can achieve better results by taking a more holistic approach to managing workforce well-being, one that includes a strong financial foundation. One key component is supporting financial wellness with a variety of efforts, including broad insurance benefit options for more adequate protection such as voluntary life insurance, college tuition savings, financial education and benefits enrollment support.
Additionally, for younger employees who purchase their policies, life insurance can provide support for a future family or other personal life goals. Even more important is that it can help family not incur debt, like college or credit card debt, or help with funeral costs should an untimely death occur. While this may be the last thing on a millennial’s mind, life insurance is added protection for all life stages.
With a life insurance offering, employers make an investment by helping foster a more productive and focused workforce – something that will ultimately help a company’s bottom line.
3. Increase employee satisfaction and productivity
When employers help set employees on a path toward better financial wellness, it pays off. As noted earlier, our research shows that financial stress impacts working Americans emotional and physical well-being. The results of this can be a negative for an employer because financial-related stress can distract employees at work driving down productivity and overall job satisfaction.
And with the changing workplace demographics, millennials are making themselves heard when it comes to what will keep them satisfied in the workplace. Guardian’s latest study on millennial finance reveals that millennials say having a detailed financial plan is equally as important to them as getting a raise. More than half (62 percent) of millennials also say getting financial advice from their employer would increase their financial confidence. This data reveals that employers who offer benefits, such as life insurance, have increased employee satisfaction and well-being.
This financial confidence allows employees to be more productive and satisfied at work, as well build a foundation of trust with their employer. When a company invests in their employees’ individual financial health by offering flexible and top-notch benefits, it will profit in the long run by retaining quality employees and building a positive company culture.
As workers continue to rely on employers for access to employee benefits, an effective benefits communication and enrollment strategy should be top of mind. Research continues to show that employees find the enrollment process confusing, and many think it’s difficult to access and learn about their benefits. Brokers should develop a strategy to help employers increase enrollment participation through a variety of tools such as product education, decision support resources and online enrollment options. Having the right benefits communications plan will empower employees to select the products that will help meet their family’s needs.
The future is shaped by events – big events that impact family life such as getting married having children, seeing them grow up and go off to college, and perhaps getting married themselves. Employees want to be there for their families and life insurance helps individuals protect what they value most. In turn, they will value an employer that helps them do so every step of the way.
Originally published on Benefitspro.com