News | November 4, 2011

Online Employee Benefits Enrollment Is The New Normal

New Study from Guardian Also Reveals Cross-Generational Appeal to Consolidated Web-Based Platforms to Evaluate and Learn About Benefit Offerings

New York (BUSINESS WIRE) - The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the nation's largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits, today released new research showing that 62 percent of workers now enroll online for their employee benefits, compared to only 29 percent in 2005. In the past year alone, the use of online benefits enrollment increased by 8 percentage points, which represents a significant shift in how employees learn about, evaluate and interact with their benefits programs.

The study also offers generational insights regarding employee preferences related to benefit platforms. While Millennials are generally perceived as the generation that would overwhelmingly prefer to evaluate benefit offerings through online platforms, in effect, a majority of all workers (54 percent) indicated that a consolidated web portal would help employees appreciate the value of available benefits more effectively.

"Our research indicates a substantial shift in attitudes, needs and technology behaviors among all generations of workers. As such, employers are beginning to adapt to these changing dynamics by offering benefit packages through online interfaces that streamline the learning and evaluation process for all of their workers," said Elena Wu, Vice President, Group Insurance for Guardian.

Given the complexity of benefits evaluation and the identification of the most appropriate offerings, employees have expressed a strong need for simplification. In fact, a majority of workers (56 percent), irrespective of age or educational level, believe a single, consolidated web-based platform that integrates all of their benefits allows them to better comprehend and consider their insurance options, make selections and appreciate the value of benefits available to them.

"Understanding the most appropriate benefit mix is critically important for workers when making such significant decisions," added Wu. "Consequently, providers and employers must offer employees the most seamless and convenient way to engage with their benefit options to fully and accurately comprehend their offerings and evaluate their needs."

Additional key findings include:

  • In general, workers prefer online enrollment over an offline or a paper process. Nine out of ten workers surveyed (91 percent) rate their online enrollment experience as "very easy" compared to 78 percent of those using paper.
  • Employees cite the following top reasons for preferring online benefits enrollment: -- Convenience (89 percent)
  • Time savings (85 percent)
  • Good for the environment (78 percent)
  • 60 percent of both Millennial and Gen X respondents indicated that a consolidated benefits web portal would improve employees' ability to better appreciate the value of available benefits.

The full research study can be viewed in its entirety at: www.aboutemployeebenefits.com/enrollmentreport/

About the Survey
Benefits & Behavior 2011: Spotlight on Enrollment Trends presents the findings of a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 2,000 adults. In total, 874 adults qualified to answer questions pertaining to their employee benefits: 469 men and 405 women, all of whom are 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States. Opinion Research Corporation of Princeton, N.J. conducted the interviews from August 25--27, 2011.

About Guardian
A mutual insurer founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting individuals, business owners and their employees with life insurance, disability income insurance, dental insurance products, and offer funding vehicles for 401(k) plans, annuities and other financial products. Guardian operates one of the largest dental networks in the United States, and protects more than six million employees and their families at 120,000 companies. The company has approximately 5,000 employees in the United States and a network of over 3,000 financial representatives in more than 80 agencies nationwide.

For more information about Guardian, please visit: www.GuardianLife.com

SOURCE: The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America

Copyright Business Wire 2011

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