Annual Eastbridge study finds several voluntary product lines with double-digit growth in 2005

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (July 11, 2006)-No product line saw dramatic growth in 2005, but several did have double-digit increases according to the worksite carriers surveyed in Eastbridge�s annual study on worksite sales. Hospital indemnity and limited benefit medical plans have seen the most growth over the past several years. Critical illness and term life also saw double-digit growth, according to Eastbridge�s U.S. Worksite Study.

�When looking at sales results by line of business,� says Gil Lowerre, Eastbridge president, �life insurance (mostly term) again accounted for the largest share with 24 percent. Disability came in second at 20 percent, followed by hospital income and accident.� Voluntary disability sales were again weighted towards short-term products this year, with long-term disability actually showing a decrease in sales (some 29 percent).

Hospital indemnity and limited benefit medical plans both grew at just over 15 percent. Cancer sales in 2005 were over double the critical illness sales, although critical illness showed a more impressive growth rate (13 percent compared to 4 percent). Dental sales were down again last year, but less than the prior year, and long-term care sales were again flat in terms of new sales. Voluntary vision sales, albeit small, showed a solid increase in 2005 (46 percent).

As for sales results by product platform, not much changed from 2004. In 2005, individual sales slightly led group sales (57 percent compared to 43 percent) although the growth rates were almost identical. �In the past, group sales have grown at a much faster pace than individual,� adds Bonnie Brazzell, vice president at Eastbridge. �But this year, the growth rate of group products has really leveled.� This �blurring� of group and individual platforms has been going on for the past several years with individual products taking on some group characteristics, and vice versa. For example, guaranteed issue is readily available on the individual side, more group products are now portable, and minimum participation requirements are relaxing some on the group side.

The 2005 U.S. Worksite Study is an annual report conducted by Eastbridge for the past seven years. The report includes detailed data on the performance of 60 worksite marketing carriers (both group and individual) and represents the largest number of carriers included in any sales report for the industry. The report is only available to participants. For more information contact Eastbridge at info@eastbridge.com or call (860) 676-9633.

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. www.eastbridge.com