As employers move away from fully funding products, they are becoming more interested in voluntary long-term disability (VLTD) solutions as a way for employees to help fill benefit gaps. In fact, the number of employers indicating that they fully fund LTD benefits has decreased from 51 percent in 2009 to only 24 percent in 2014, according to a 2014 Eastbridge study.
With this increased interest comes the demand for more flexible and innovative VLTD plans. Eastbridge’s new report, Voluntary Long-Term Disability Plans 2015 explores 19 different VLTD plans. Some of the innovations include higher maximums, new benefits options, more hybrid-type products, and plans that can meet the unique needs of not only the middle and large-employer market, but smaller employers, as well. In 2011, carriers added survivor benefits and cost-of-living adjustments. Since that time, carriers have also added optional benefits such as employee assistance programs, ADL increases, and financial counseling.
Although the majority of benefit options are chosen at the employer level, carriers are also looking at ways to offer more options at the employee level. These include more choices of benefit amounts, varying benefit durations and the ability to buy less than the amount for which the employee is eligible.
The additional features and benefits offered by carriers, both at the employer and employee levels, have helped meet much of the increased demand for voluntary long-term disability coverage. However, given that most plans include these, carriers should continue to look for ways to truly differentiate their product from others on the market.
The cost of the report is $3,000. To purchase, call
Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada.