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Troubled Economy Means Employees Pay Larger Share of Benefits

To help mitigate the effects of a down economy, more businesses are asking employees to pay a larger share toward their company-provided benefits. In a recent Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company survey*, nearly half of the employee benefits broker respondents say their employer clients are increasing the amount employees contribute for benefits.

Economy's Effects on Benefits

Almost 60 percent of survey respondents say they've added voluntary benefits options for employers, and almost half say employers increased employee contributions. Here are the ways brokers say the economy has affected the benefits they offer clients:

  • Added voluntary benefits options – 59%
  • Increased employee contributions – 48%
  • Added benefits options – 35%
  • Added a health savings account – 29%
  • Switched carriers – 28%
  • Reduced benefits options – 27%
  • Added a high-deductible health plan option with an health reimbursement account – 26%
  • Increased employer contributions – 10%
  • No change – 9%

"More employee benefits brokers are realizing the solutions voluntary benefits can bring," says Jay Hutchins, vice president of broker marketing at Colonial Life. "By adding voluntary benefits to their agency's portfolios, they can help business owners better manage their benefits program budgets and still offer a variety of benefits to meet employees' individual needs."

Importance of Voluntary Benefits

Eight in 10 brokers surveyed say voluntary benefits are very important to the overall benefits package they offer business owners:

  • Very important – 80%
  • Somewhat important – 17%
  • Not important – 3%

"Clearly, voluntary benefits have become a key part of the solutions brokers take to their business-owner clients," Hutchins says. "Years ago, voluntary benefits were considered as nice to have, but today, they've become an integral part of company-provided benefits plans."

For more information about Colonial Life, call (803) 798-7000 or visit

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing insurance benefits for employees and their families through their workplace, along with individual benefits education, advanced yet simple-to-use enrollment technology and quality personal service. Colonial Life offers disability, life and supplemental accident and health insurance policies in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Similar policies, if approved, are underwritten in New York by a Colonial Life affiliate, The Paul Revere Life Insurance Company, Worcester, Mass. Colonial Life is based in Columbia, S.C., and is a subsidiary of Unum Group, one of the world's leading providers of employee benefits. For more information, visit

* Survey of insurance brokers at the Benefits Selling Expo in Maryland/Washington, D.C., April 2010, and the Workplace Benefits Renaissance Conference in Nashville, March 2010.


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