Open enrollment is just around the corner. If you plan to sell voluntary disability insurance benefits, now is the time to get your foot in the door. In most companies, the HR team is pivotal helping employees understand and use their benefits. So, it stands to reason that if you want to sell voluntary disability insurance benefits, you need to partner with human resources. Below are some suggestions and tools to get you started.
Voluntary benefit trends
First, make sure the HR team understands why voluntary benefits are essential.
The trend to enhance employee benefit packages with voluntary benefits continues to grow in popularity with both employers and employees. Employers surveyed by Willis Towers Watson predicted voluntary benefits and services will be a more central component of employee benefit offerings over the next three to five years. Controlling benefit expenses, tighter labor markets, continued upward pressure on salaries in 2019, and increasing demand from employees for broader benefits contribute to the shift from employer paid to employee paid benefits. Some insurance offerings extend eligibility to part-time employees, another win for employers competing for part-time workers. Employees favor the personal customization available when voluntary benefits are offered tending to be happier with their jobs, less likely to leave their current employer, and more likely to be satisfied with benefit packages.
As much as HR benefit managers see the value of and support a multi-faceted benefit package, being an expert for each benefit is unlikely. Yet the financial professional has few options other to rely on the HR role to educate employees on the importance of each benefit.
How insurance advisors can be a resource
Next, teach your HR partners how to pitch voluntary disability insurance.
All parties (employers, carriers, advisors) agree that a successful voluntary enrollment demands an engaged employer who actively promotes each benefit. Improving the participation rate is an easily measure goal. Advisors can pave a successful path to greater enrollment rates with a few tools to help HR better tell the story with a simple three-step approach: Describe, Forecast, and Sketch.
- Describe: Disability insurance sales rely first on understanding what is considered a disability and secondly, understanding the benefits the coverage provides. Many think only of catastrophic disabilities or handicaps, leading to under-estimating the risk, or incorrectly believing Workers Compensation insurance or Social Security Disability Insurance will provide some level of protection. The Council for Disability Awareness offers a downloadable infographic that can be used to explain the most common causes of disability.
- Forecast: This step calls for a balance between fact and fear. It is impossible to evaluate the need for disability insurance with knowing the risk. The relatively high likelihood, 25 percent, that twenty-somethings, will be unable to work for at least one year due to a disability is compelling information and essential to an informed decision. Direct the HR representative to the Council for Disability Awareness for a reliable source of information about the probabilities and risks of suffering a disability.
- Sketch: The final step is to guide the employee through the process of picturing a personalized scenario. In light of the forecasting step, given their household income and current financial position, help employees picture themselves in the situation of being without income for three to twelve months. Emphasizing the peace-of-mind disability insurance provides and the wisdom of planning for uncertainty,
Suggest these three easy steps to improve voluntary disability insurance participation rates. Multi-life voluntary disability programs reward the advisor and benefit both employers and employees. A partnership with the HR team seals the deal. Identify two or three small to medium-sized employers in your area to target then call your DIS representative to develop a persuasive pitch.