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Strong CI, whole life sales spur voluntary benefits market growth in 2018

Brian Anderson

Thanks in part to still-strong worksite sales of critical illness insurance, new annualized premium for voluntary insurance products totaled $7.2 billion in 2018.

That’s a 3% increase from 2017 sales results, according to LIMRA’s U.S. Worksite/Voluntary Sales Study, released May 20.

LIMRA defines voluntary benefits as insurance products available at the workplace that are 100% funded by the employees. According to LIMRA research, since 2010 the percent of employers offering voluntary benefits as part of their overall employee benefits package has increased 11%.

“With five different generations in the workforce today, a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits is no longer a viable option,” said Anita Potter, assistant vice president and director Workplace Benefits Research, LIMRA. “Voluntary benefits provide employers with a solution that allows them to meet the increasingly diverse needs of their employees and their families.”

In the fourth quarter 2018, new voluntary life insurance premium jumped 8%, compared with prior year. For the year, voluntary life insurance products rose 3%, with substantial increases in accidental death & dismemberment and whole life product sales offsetting declines in voluntary term, UL and VUL sales.

New voluntary health insurance premium fell 3% in the fourth quarter but ended the year up 3%, compared with prior year results.

For the year, growth in critical illness, accidental, short-term disability, vision and other supplemental health products drove the overall annual increase in voluntary health product sales.

“Critical illness continues to be a bright spot for sales, with an 8% increase over last year,” Potter said. “However, growth of this product has been slowing from prior years, when we saw consistent double-digit gains. In contrast, voluntary whole life sales appear to be accelerating.”



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