AS COVID- 19 CONTINUES tohave far-reaching impactson the workforce and inturn, the employee benefits landscape, brokersare concerned about theeffects it will have on voluntary benefits. Eastbridge’srecent survey of brokers foundthat the top concern for voluntary was a potential for reduced enrollment volume, with
71% of brokers agreeing this
was of concern. Around half of
brokers expressed concern that
employer and/or employee interest
in voluntary may be reduced, while
one-third felt that COVID- 19 may
divert their time towards an-
swering coverage questions
on existing business.
A few brokers noted
the potential impact of a
reduced workforce through
business closings and/or
layoff and furloughs. Howev-
er, only 11% of brokers say they
are not concerned about the
COVID- 19 pandemic’s impact on
their voluntary business.
Some of the other specificcomments brokers made abouttheir top concerns included:
“Inability to solicit new client
“Lack of commission income”
“Loss of renewals”
“Cancellations of existing policies”
Despite challenges in the near-term, there appears to be a potentialupside for voluntary benefits. Whenasked whether COVID- 19 will havea positive or negative impact on employer enthusiasm for voluntary benefits over the next 12 months, 39%of brokers believe employers will bemore enthusiastic. As one broker expressed: “When businesses are backup and running, I believe the need forvoluntary benefits will increase.”
As brokers navigate the uncertainty that COVID- 19 has introduced tovoluntary benefits, the opportunityremains for strong partnerships between carriers, brokers and employersto creatively address the issues athand and to create solutions for employees in this time of great need.
Note: The survey was conductedduring April 2020 and 55 brokersactive in the voluntary businesscompleted the survey.
COVID- 19 expected to impactvoluntary benefits
By Erin Marino andNick Rockwell
Top COVID- 19 concerns for voluntary
Erin Marinoand NickRockwell,EastbridgeConsultingGroup, Inc.
Reduced enrollment volumeReduced employer interest in voluntaryReduced employee interest in voluntaryTime diverted to answer coverage questions on existing businessReduced workforce through businesses closing or impact of layoff/furloughsNot concerned