Originally posted on https://eba.benefitnews.com

Experts in the voluntary field share predictions for the coming year — and some pretty crazy products that can now be sold through payroll deduction. Comments compiled at SourceMedia’s Workplace Benefits Transitions conference in Chicago Dec. 10-12

Voluntary overall 

“[Voluntary] prospects are outstanding because change brings opportunity. Not only today, but going into the future, it’s going to present a lot of great opportunities for us,” said Charlie Grim, sales manager at The BenefitSource in Elmhurst, Ill. While conference co-chair Walter Podgurski noted that Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge Consulting and leading expert in voluntary research, has predicted that 2014 will once again be a banner year for the products with health reform fully in place.

Long-term care

“Look at the population of our country,” said Grim, referring to the aging population, “That’ll dictate what gets sold.” Meanwhile, a report released in mid-December by the National Study of Long-Term Care Providers, compiled by the CDC, shows that only 8 million people used LTC in 2012 — that’s roughly 2.5% of the total U.S. population.


“Carriers have not done the best to communicate online,” said Joe Markland, president of HR Technology Advisors, LLC in Wrentham, Mass. “I’ve asked carriers, ‘if you’re going to sell voluntary, do you have a two minute video that I can upload to an enrollment platform to explain it?’ I found very few companies [who do this]. … Technology as a whole is an opportunity and people aren’t taking advantage of it.”More experts

“I do not believe you can dabble in voluntary,” said Jim Cappel, president of Illinois Benefits in Chicago. Markland agreed, adding that medical revenue is a bigger piece of the benefits pie monetary-wise, so voluntary products need to be sold with more time and dedication.Life, critical illness, disability

Cappel says these three are the “winners” in his mind for voluntary products in 2013 and will continue to be in the future.