Eastbridges Mid-Year Voluntary Confidence Survey Looks at Opinions on Worksite Persistency, Premium Rates, and New Group Growth

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (August 17, 2006)-The majority of participants surveyed in the latest version of The Worksite/Voluntary Industry Confidence Index (July 2006) expect voluntary sales and the profitability of the business to increase over the next year. While this is good news, they seemed to be a little less positive this year about future persistency levels and new group growth compared to the last study (conducted in December 2005).

�Most of the respondents believe that persistency levels and retention for voluntary business will either improve slightly (40 percent) or remain the same (44 percent) over the next 12 months,� says Bonnie Brazzell, Eastbridge vice president. �However, there was a slight increase in the number that believe persistency levels may decrease (8 percent in 2005 compare to 10 percent in 2006).�

The same was true for the new group growth rate. �Although the majority of respondents think that their company will continue to acquire more new groups over the next year,� adds Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge, �the percentage decreased from 90 percent to 79 percent.� Specifically, fewer respondents in the 2006 study believe that new group sales will �increase a lot� (43 percent compared to 30 percent). There was also a notable increase in the percentage that said the number will �decrease a little� (up to 12 percent from just two percent last time).

As for premium rates, 44 percent of the survey participants believe that premium increases are likely in the next 12 months. This was down from 51 percent in the December 2005 study. The percent that believe the rates will remain the same increased from 44 to 50 percent.

The Worksite/Voluntary Industry Confidence Index is a Frontline Report published semi-annually by Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. The study includes responses from individuals active in the market and includes carriers, brokers, and vendors. For more information, contact Eastbridge at info@eastbridge.com or phone the company at (860) 676-9633.

The report is available free of charge to all Eastbridge Insight and Information Partner Companies.

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.
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