Voluntary sales record another year of steady growth based on Eastbridge’s study of 64 leading carriers

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (June 10, 2008) – In 2007, worksite sales increased nearly 7 percent, very close to the same percent as for 2006. This is a big jump from the increases we saw from 2003-2005 . Total 2007 worksite sales are estimated at $5.038 billion, up from $4.715 in 2006.

“Much of this rebound can be attributed to the larger carriers, like Aflac, having stronger sales over the past few years,” says Gil Lowerre, Eastbridge president. “The average sales increase among the top 15 companies was 10 percent, the same as last year. This year, however, among the top 15 companies, seven had double-digit sales increases. Just three had decreases, ranging from less than one percent to 20 percent.”

According to the carriers surveyed in our annual U.S. Worksite Sales Report, the voluntary market is continuing to grow rapidly and becoming the heart of the benefits business. “Since we first started this annual study nine years ago, the industry has always had increasing sales (never declining sales), and, over the last few years, the annual sales growth rates have also been increasing,” adds Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge.

Inforce premiums also increased by about six percent in 2007 (a slight decrease from the 10 percent in 2006). Based on tracked premium and estimates of the total market, the 2007 inforce worksite premium was between $15.7 and $20.7 billion.

“Clearly, the benefits industry is moving steadily towards voluntary,” adds Lowerre. “Over half of the employers now offer at least one voluntary benefit to their employees. In businesses with more than 100 employees, that number increases to 70 plus percent. What’s more, 65 percent of all employees (in businesses with at least 10 employees) now own at least one voluntary product.”

The U.S. Worksite Sales Reportestimates sales for the entire voluntary industry with detailed data on the performance of 64 worksite marketing carriers, both group (voluntary) and individual (worksite) carriers/products. Eastbridge estimates that these companies account for over 90 percent of the total worksite sales volume for 2007 — and represent the largest number of carriers included in any sales report for the industry.

Parties interested in participating in next year’s study are advised to email Eastbridge at [email protected]. All participants receive a free copy of the complete findings, including company-specific results.

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