Industry Confidence in Voluntary Market is Up Again According to a Survey by Eastbridge Consulting Group

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (January 11, 2007)�The latest results of Eastbridge Consulting Group�s Voluntary Industry Confidence Index survey show that those in the industry are more positive about the future for the industry in 2007 than in 2006. According to the survey, the index is at 102.3, which is an increase over the mid-year 2006 results.

The study is conducted semi-annually and includes responses from individuals active in the market�carriers, brokers, and vendors. Like other confidence indices, the Voluntary Industry Confidence Index is a single number that compares the current results to a baseline measure. The first Confidence Index survey was completed in December of 2005; the results from that survey serve as our �base� year (meaning the index was at 100 for that year). For mid-year 2006, the index was at 101.2.

�The increase in the index to 102.3 today is largely due to the more positive results (based on means) for the industry�s sales expectations for the next 12 months,� says Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. Survey respondents were very positive about the outlook for voluntary product sales with over 98 percent expecting sales to increase over the next 12 months. Twenty-eight (28) percent believe that sales will �increase a lot.�

�The market is also more positive about their expectations for profitability,� adds Bonnie Brazzell, vice president. When asked if voluntary carriers will be more profitable 12 months from now, 43 percent of the respondents answered �a little more� profitable. �This was slightly higher than the 40 percent from the mid-year survey,� notes Brazzell. Another 10 percent expect the industry to be �much more� profitable. The total percentage of respondents expecting higher profitability was 53 percent, the highest percentage of any of the Confidence Index surveys.

Employee enthusiasm regarding voluntary (another component of the index) was stable and showed no significant change in the most recent survey.

The Voluntary Industry Confidence Index report is available only to Eastbridge Insight and Information Partner companies as well as to participants. The survey will be conducted again in July of 2007. For more information on becoming a participant, contact the company at
info@eastbridge.com.

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.