EMPLOYERS ARE increasingly turning to voluntary benefits to personalize their benefit offerings, support their employees’ overall well-being, and attract and retain talent.

Nearly half of 320 large employers polled by Willis Towers Watson said they expect voluntary benefits to become more important over the next five years.

If you are considering starting to offer voluntary benefits, these might be a good place to start. They are the five voluntary benefits most commonly offered by employers:

1. Life

Life insurance is the most popular voluntary benefit, with 94% of employers surveyed offering it.

Individual life policies were some of the first voluntary products sold in the workplace. Today, 81% of individuals with life insurance have receive it through work, according to a 2021 ING study.

But despite life insurance offerings at work, industry experts say most Americans are underinsured, if they are insured at all.

2. Vision

Some 84% of employers offer vision insurance.

Voluntary vision coverage is a popular product. Employees view a vision benefit a high-value/high-return product because you don’t have to be sick to use it and its cost is typically one-tenth that of a medical plan.

It is also a product that appeals to many individuals: two-thirds of all adults report wearing some type of eyewear, according to the Towers Watson survey.

3. Dental

Eighty percent of employers offer dental coverage as a benefit.

Without dental insurance, your employees may not be prepared to cover the procedure costs on their own. But with affordabledental benefits available, there’s no need to put your employees in this situation.

Research shows that without dental benefits, proper exams and preventative care tend to be ignored and unfortunately, this may end up costing your employees more with expensive procedures down the road.

4. Disability

Benefits experts have long argued disability insurance is just as important as life insurance. And employers seem to agree: 80% of employers surveyed by Towers Watson offer it.

According to the Social Security Administration, a staggering 30% of people will encounter a disability of three months or longer at some point during their working years.

5. Accident insurance

About 70% of employers offer this. Accident benefits may help cover deductibles and other services standard health care coverage may not provide.

Some accident insurance can be both a reimbursement and an indemnity insurance policy – expense reimbursements are paid for actual charges or up to the maximum amount stipulated in the plan.

Embedded benefits of accident coverage typically include:

  • Accident medical expense
  • Ambulance benefit
  • Hospital confinement
  • Accidental death and dismemberment

Optional benefits and riders include accident total disability, hospital intensive care, bone fracture and dislocation, and coverage for spouse and children.

A last word

Other voluntary products that have grown in popularity over the last few years are college loan assistance, critical illness insurance, identity theft and financial counseling as the top voluntary benefits to watch in the coming years.