Eastbridge study shows voluntary carriers concerned about impact of emerging statutory disability plans

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (January 16, 2024)

State-mandated leave plans could affect sales, profitability and participation

Voluntary carriers are making moves to update their short-term disability products to better align with the growing trend toward state-required disability plans, according to new Eastbridge Consulting Group research.

The Voluntary Short-Term Disability Spotlight™ Report shows carriers are filing additional benefit options such as rehabilitation and workplace accommodations, changing benefit maximums and durations, and revising underwriting and income guidelines to better align with state plans and ensure the value of their products as a supplement to state coverage.

“Like other types of employer-provided insurance, state-mandated leave plans may not provide all the coverage employees need,” said Ginger Bates, Eastbridge director of research. “Carriers who want to stay relevant in this market are tweaking their voluntary disability products so they continue to add value as a supplement to other coverage. Effective education about what these products offer will also be an important aspect of remaining competitive.”

The Voluntary Short-Term Disability Spotlight™ Report analyzes data collected from 23 voluntary carriers in August and September 2023 on their VSTD products and emerging trends or issues in the market. Topics covered include types of benefits, exclusions and limitations, underwriting, portability, integration with statutory plans, commissions, claims standards, profitability, persistency, typical policyholder and account demographics, and more. Carriers can use this data to compare their own products and practices to others in the industry to evaluate opportunities to become more effective and competitive.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Guaranteed issue underwriting is now the norm for VSTD products. All carriers surveyed offer GI underwriting, and 10 use it exclusively.
  • Product flexibility in plan designs and benefits to better match employers’ needs is the most common way carriers try to differentiate themselves in the market.
  • Most carriers report they pay STD claims in 10 days or less after they receive all required information, but the process is often slowed by inaccurate or incomplete data from employers or employees, including proof of enrollment.

Voluntary Short-Term Disability, a Spotlight™ Report

Information about purchasing the report is available on Eastbridge’s website. Those interested can email [email protected] or call (860) 676-9633.

About Eastbridge Consulting Group — is a marketing advisory firm serving companies focused on the voluntary/worksite benefits market in the United States and Canada. Follow Eastbridge on LinkedIn.

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For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or (860) 676-9633.



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