Employers Looking for Help on Voluntary Benefits

This presents an opportunity for advisers, MassMutual says.

Nearly four out of 10 (39%) employers who are currently not working with an adviser say they would like help administering such voluntary benefits as retirement plans, life and disability insurance, and other wealth protection benefits for employees, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. found in a survey.

Employers’ views on the value of voluntary benefits increases with firm size; 33% of companies with fewer than 25 employees say such benefits are “extremely” or “very” valuable, and this increases to 55% for companies with 1,000 employees or more.

Among employers currently working with advisers who help them with their voluntary benefits, 53% rate the advice they receive as “excellent” or “very good,” and 77% rate it as “good.” The survey also found that employers who work with an adviser are more likely to promote their benefits; 61% of employers with an adviser encourage employees to take advantage of their benefits program, compared to 49% of employers without an adviser.

The most popular benefits, in order, are health care (cited by 92% of employers), dental (73%), life (72%), vision (60%), short-term disability (52%), long-term disability (51%), accident (32%), employee assistance program (21%), wellness program (20%), critical illness (17%), cancer (16%) and long-term care (13%).

“Employers increasingly are looking for help from financial advisers with voluntary benefits as their employees’ personal financial needs become more complex,” says Tom Foster, spokesperson and practice management leader for MassMutual’s retirement plan services. “Our research shows that advisers with the appropriate knowledge and expertise may have a clear and compelling opportunity to expand their financial practice to offer at least some guidance about voluntary benefits.”