Eastbridge Study Finds Benefit Brokers Dominating Voluntary Market

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (June 19 , 2007)�Benefit brokers accounted for the largest percentage (nearly 50%) of worksite sales in 2006, according to Eastbridge Consulting Group�s eighth annual U.S. Worksite Sales Study. The next closest segment, in terms of market share, was the Career Agent. The following chart shows the share of sales for each distributor segment over the last three years:

 
2006
2005
2004
Benefit Brokers
46%
45%
40%
Classic
12%
13%
14%
Specialist
8%
8%
8%
Occasional
6%
8%
8%
Career Agents
29%
26%
29%

�In terms of new sales in 2006, however, the greatest increase came from the Career Agent segment,� says Bonnie Brazzell, vice president, Eastbridge. Compared to last year, sales for this segment increased almost 20 percent in 2006. �This was largely driven by the fact that the two largest career agent companies both had double-digit sales increases,� adds Brazzell. The Benefit Broker segment saw close to a 10 percent increase. The Classic Worksite Broker segment increased at about 5 percent, while the Specialists were about level with 2005.

�The market has changed and is no longer dominated by those brokers that focus only on worksite/voluntary sales,� say Gil Lowerre, Eastbridge president. Today, brokers whose primary business is selling products other than voluntary to employers are writing more and more voluntary business. �These brokers are important and fast growing players in the voluntary arena, regularly offering voluntary as an add-on to the sales of employer-funded coverages,� says Lowerre. �While most start out selling voluntary versions of the employer-funded plans, we see as they gain experience, they�re beginning to experiment with different products, enrollment methods, and platforms in this market.�

The U.S. Worksite Sales Study is conducted annually by Eastbridge Consulting Group. The 2006 study includes detailed information on 61 carriers. All participating insurance carriers receive a free copy of the study�s findings, including company-specific results. For information about participating in next year�s study, send an email to info@eastbridge.com or phone the company at (860) 676-9633.

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