According to a recent survey by Towers Watson, the prevalence of “voluntary benefits” is expected to double over the next few years.
Voluntary benefits are those that supplement employer group insurance programs and are typically paid in whole or part by the employee. The most commonly offered programs include life and accident coverage as well as dental, disability, and vision insurance. The employers surveyed are also considering adding critical illness, financial counseling, and identity theft protection.
MSEC survey data mirror this increase in voluntary benefits. Since 2009, voluntary accident insurance has increased 14 percent, life insurance by 11 percent, and vision care by 14 percent. Another voluntary benefit that has become more prominent in recent years is pet insurance. According to an MSEC survey, in 2013, 8 percent of MSEC members surveyed reported offering this benefit.
Employers cite the need to provide more personalized benefits to address differing employee lifestyles and to enhance their overall total rewards programs.