Voluntary sales totaled $8.1 billion in 2017, up almost 7 percent over the previous year’s results, according to Eastbridge Consulting Group’s annual U.S. Voluntary/Worksite Sales Report.
“This year in the small category ($10-$49.9 million in sales), American Public Life was the fastest growing company based on voluntary sales with a 32 percent increase over 2016 results,” says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. This is the third year of double-digit growth for American Public Life’s voluntary business. Voluntary sales for 2016 and 2015 increased by 30 percent and 24 percent, respectively, over the prior year. “Achieving growth of this level is no small feat, and Eastbridge congratulates American Public Life on its success,” adds Lowerre.
This report examines the current state of the voluntary accident market and is designed to help carriers better understand the voluntary accident market and the particulars of the plans being currently offered. Twenty-three (23) carriers participated in the report representing 33 different voluntary personal injury accident products.
WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES of a good voluntary beneﬁt? The industry has historically sorted out would-be new entrants before many producers knew they existed. Various elements could be debated, but there are at least two components common to most successful products: beneﬁt strategy relevance and program mechanics.
EASTBRIDGE’S 2017 Voluntary Participation Rates Spotlight™ report found that just over half of participating carriers have seen participation rates increase over the past two to three years, and the majority expect this trend to continue. While individual carrier responses varied, the overall reported average was 28 percent in 2017, up from 21 percent in 2014.
FOR TWO DECADES, industry voluntary sales increased year after year. Growth was largely driven by new brokers entering the business, primarily from the ranks of the traditional medical and group brokers. But these new entrants did not begin growing their sales and increasing productioneach year as one might expect. Instead, they sold a few cases each year, with results changing only slightly from year-to-year.
MORE COMPANIES are turning to the insights data analytics can provide to their business— and voluntary benefit manufacturers are no exception. A recent Eastbridge survey on the topic revealed that 50 percent of carriers are currently using data analytics for at least some piece of their voluntary business. Another 20 percent are planning to implement analytics in the near future. These carriers are looking to use this data to help them better understand customer needs, increase persistency and provide better customer service.
AS A GROUP, voluntary brokers and executives have historically overreacted to industry developments. Some of these developments promised great benefits through chasing a new trend, while others warned of doom based on a new threat.