Critical Illness Tops Voluntary Industry�s List of Growth Products

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (June 7, 2006)-According to a recent study by Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. on worksite product trends, carriers identified critical illness, disability, and limited benefit medical plans as their companies top three growth products for 2006. This is quite a change from the 2004 survey where nearly 60 percent of the carriers listed universal life as the top growth product for their company, but in line with the 2002 product trends survey (which also listed critical illness in the number one spot). In the 2006 study, universal life was named by just 11 percent as a top growth product.

�In addition to the growth products named above, many respondents see accident and dental plans among the higher growing products for their companies in 2006,� notes Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge. �In addition to the decrease in those selecting universal life, significantly fewer companies also chose term life as a growth product (down to 16 percent from 29 percent) this year.�

With regards to growth products for the industry overall (for 2006), carriers responded with a similar list. Specifically, they selected critical illness as their top industry pick, followed by supplemental medical (�gap�) and limited benefit medical (53 percent, 34 percent, and 34 percent respectively). �While there is a slight difference in this year�s list of industry growth products compared to the list from 2004, the most notable difference is the lack of consensus among the carriers,� states Eastbridge president, Gil Lowerre. �The list of top three products varied significantly from carrier to carrier. In fact, critical illness was the only product named by more than half of the carriers as an industry growth product.�

Interestingly, despite the fact that critical illness was named as a top growth product in term of both the individual company and the industry perspective, the product was also the most frequently named �underperforming product.� �In fact, 32 percent of the carriers surveyed named critical illness as the product that has not grown as expected,� adds Brazzell. �This is even more interesting when we consider that Eastbridge�s 2006 U.S. Worksite Sales Survey showed that the critical illness line of business grew at one of the faster paces in 2005. Sales were up almost 13 percent over 2004. We will need to watch the results in 2006, but we may be seeing critical illness finally live up to its expectations.�

The 2006 Worksite Product Trends Frontline Report updates our 2002 and 2004 studies on the same topic. Eastbridge Insight and Information Partner Companies as well as survey participants receive the Frontline Report free of charge.

About Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc.

Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada. Visit