Survey Says: Group Life Insurance a Desirable Voluntary Employee Benefit

OneAmerica®-Harris Poll illustrates appetite as American workers seek to protect their financial futures

Indianapolis, August 24, 2018

Although just over a quarter of employed1 Americans (27%) have voluntary group life insurance, 68 percent of workers who say they don’t because their employer doesn’t offer it would be somewhat or very likely to purchase it if offered at their company.

That’s according to a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica® of over 2,000 U.S. adults 18 years or older, among whom over 1,000 are employed full- or part-time.2 The survey illustrated why this foundational employee benefit is desired — to protect themselves and their loved ones from future financial hardship.

“September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and the information gathered by The Harris Poll provides further proof of the strong desire for employed Americans to have access to long-term solutions to protect the financial future of their families,” said Jim McGovern, senior vice president of employee benefits at OneAmerica. “For most employees, the workplace is the only opportunity they have to purchase life insurance.”

 When asked the reasons why they have voluntary group life insurance through their employer, 60 percent of employees who have it say it’s to protect family/loved ones from future financial hardship; 44 percent say peace of mind; 40 percent to pay off debts and final expenses in the event of their passing; 27 percent to replace a spouse/partner’s income in the event of their passing; and 26 percent to leave an inheritance for children or grandchildren.

Voluntary life insurance is optional life insurance provided by an employer that an employee pays for should they choose to have it.

The OneAmerica/The Harris Poll survey provided opportunities for carriers to address:

  • Among employed Americans, significantly more men (31 percent) than women (23 percent) say they have voluntary group life insurance through their employer.
  • Only 30 percent of those with voluntary group life insurance through their employer reported they have more than $100,000 in life insurance coverage. A larger proportion of men (33 percent) than women (24 percent) report they have over $100,000 in coverage. The second-most popular is between $51,000 and $100,000 in coverage, with 28 percent of employees who have coverage citing that amount.  
  • Of the 73 percent of employed Americans who reported they did not have voluntary group life insurance through work, the leading reason all age groups didn’t have coverage was not that they had other obligations/expenses (13 percent), thought it was unaffordable (11 percent) or that they didn’t see the value of it (11 percent), but that their employers don’t offer the benefit (42 percent). This was especially true for adults between the ages of 35 and 54, with 48 percent citing their employers not offering group life insurance as the reason for lack of coverage. Ten percent of those who don’t have voluntary life insurance through work say it’s because they are healthy and don’t need it.

“The life insurance distribution model is not set up for middle America,” McGovern said. “The workplace is the new kitchen table, where the financial wellness products are distributed.”

Life insurance is one of the most important types of insurance coverage available to the financial wellness of middle America, McGovern added. “Companies who offer voluntary group life insurance keep their own benefits costs low and give their employees a valuable, lower-cost life insurance option than the employees turn to in the individual insurance marketplace.”

OneAmerica offers employer-paid and voluntary term life insurance (where the employee pays for the life insurance benefit, but receives a group rate.)

 Sixty-eight percent of employees who don’t have voluntary group life because their work doesn’t offer it are 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' to purchase voluntary group life insurance if they did offer it.

“Many employers believe that group life insurance isn’t something that would attract the type of workers they’re looking for, but as our survey shows, that’s untrue,” McGovern said. “We need to do more to educate companies and workers on this valuable and cost-effective core foundational benefit.”

OneAmerica encourages employees to check with their human resources representative about voluntary group life insurance coverage; sometimes employees discover this vital benefit is available from their employer but was overlooked during the enrollment periods when selecting benefits.

Find more information at www.oneamerica.com/products-services/business-life-insurance.

OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica. Insurance products issues and underwritten through American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL), a OneAmerica company.

Harris Insights & Analytics is not an affiliate of the companies of OneAmerica.

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About OneAmerica®

A national leader in the insurance and financial services marketplace for more than 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica help customers build and protect their financial futures. OneAmerica offers a variety of products and services to serve the financial needs of their policyholders and customers. These products include retirement plan products and recordkeeping services, individual life insurance, annuities, asset-based long-term care solutions and employee benefit plan products. Products are issued and underwritten by the companies of OneAmerica and distributed through a nationwide network of employees, agents, brokers and other sources who are committed to providing value to our customers. To learn more about our products, services and the companies of OneAmerica, visit OneAmerica.com/companies.

About The Harris Poll 

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that delivers social intelligence for transformational times. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.  To learn more, please visit www.theharrispoll.com

[1] Employed is defined as full-time or part-time.

[2]  The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica from July 26-30, 2018, among 2,023 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,054 were employed either fulltime or part time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Tom Spalding at 317-656-7644.

Tom Spalding, Public Relations Manager, 317-285-1461