NEWARK, N.J. – Workers across the country are currently participating in their companies’ annual benefits enrollment period, and they’re facing important decisions—decisions that could impact their families’ financial futures. But with so much emphasis placed on health care benefits these days, many workers are overlooking crucial life and disability insurance, even though this employer-provided group coverage is often readily available, easy to enroll in, and competitively priced. This oversight can be attributed to several reasons, but the result is clear: a significant number of American workers are underinsured for life and disability.
According to Prudential Financial, Inc.’s (NYSE: PRU) report Employee Benefits: 2007 and Beyond—which explores current and future employee needs and how employers plan to respond to those needs—workers need help understanding and selecting their benefits, especially as they pay a larger share of the bill.
“Workers are frustrated with today’s enrollment process—some find the amount of information and choices overwhelming, while others are hungry for more information and assistance,” notes Jean Wiskowski, vice president of marketing for The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s Group Insurance business. “At the same time, we’re also finding that benefits communication and education efforts are taking center stage in bridging employees’ knowledge gap about the ease and value of work site benefits enrollment. At Prudential, we’re committed to helping employees learn more and take advantage of work site benefits enrollment, because it remains one of the most cost-effective approaches to rounding out a sound financial security plan.”
The report closely examines how workers are investing little time and few of their benefits dollars in group life and disability coverage, even though this valuable insurance can be purchased through convenient payroll deduction, and in most instances there is no need to answer any health questions. According to Wiskowski, “Disability insurance often takes a backseat to other benefits, primarily medical and retirement plans, when the reality is it ensures that your savings and investment plans won’t be derailed if your income disappears due to disability. With both life and disability insurance, understanding the extent to which these benefits will provide income replacement is critical.”
Employee Benefits: 2007 and Beyond also provides insight on special considerations for women, including the fact that while women do value their benefits and rely on the convenience of the workplace for many of their financial products, they would like their employers to do more to address their specific needs. “Women, on average, have about half as much life insurance coverage as their male counterparts. This tendency to be underinsured is a risky proposition for a family, and even more so for a single parent,” notes Wiskowski. “We can help all consumers determine the amount of insurance that’s appropriate for them, and we offer a convenient online calculator designed to assess ‘the value of all you do’ for the stay-at-home spouse or parent who tends to grossly underestimate the amount of life insurance they need.”
As Wiskowski points out, Prudential “encourages workers to take advantage of the expertise and value inherent in the work site enrollment process. The array of benefits available from employers can help them diversify their coverages, and ultimately enhance their financial security.”
Prudential Financial’s Employee Benefits: 2007 and Beyond report survey was conducted via the internet during April and May 2007, and consisted of two distinct surveys: one among benefits plan sponsors, and the other among benefits plan participants. For a copy of the Employee Benefits: 2007 and Beyond report, visit www.prudential.com/gi. Prudential’s Online Needs Estimator and The Value of All You Do Calculator are both available at www.prudential.com/HowMuchDoINeed.
Prudential’s Group Insurance business manufactures and distributes a full range of group life, long-term and short-term group disability, long-term care, and corporate and trust-owned life insurance in the U.S. to institutional clients primarily for use in connection with employee and membership benefits plans. Group Insurance also sells accidental death and dismemberment and other ancillary coverages and provides plan administrative services in connection with its insurance coverages.
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with approximately $637 billion of assets under management as of September 30, 2007, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. The company’s well-known Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise, and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, please visit www.prudential.com.
Group Insurance is issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, NJ. Prudential and the Rock logo are registered service marks of The Prudential Insurance Company of America and its affiliates