Workplace dynamics continue to change. Regardless of industry, employers need to set themselves apart.

“With more women in the workforce, a divorce rate of 50 percent creating more single parents, and a significant increase in mobile or remote employees, the need for a competitive and employee-centric benefits package is critical,” says Ron Carmassi, a sales executive at JRG Advisors, the management arm of ChamberChoice.

“A package that includes voluntary benefits will help attract and retain quality employees, while at the same time reducing overhead and improving morale. A win-win scenario,” he says.

Smart Business spoke with Carmassi about how your company can use voluntary benefits to create flexibility for employees, while saving money on benefit premiums and underwriting.

What are voluntary benefits?

Voluntary benefits consist of a variety of insurance products offered at the workplace through the convenience of payroll deduction. They can be added to your current benefits package.

Employers might offer a mix of products including critical illness, cancer, accident, disability, life, pet, auto, homeowners insurance and more. Employees then have the flexibility to choose the coverage that fits their personal needs and budget.

What is the value of voluntary benefits?

The needs of each employee vary based on family and financial dynamics. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for benefits in today’s work environment.

Full-time employees still expect their employer to provide some level of health insurance. However, they are looking for additional offerings to protect themselves and their families. One employee may have a need for pet insurance. Another may have young children and find peace of mind in an accident plan. While another has a family history of cancer, thereby finding great value in a cancer policy.

In addition to choice, voluntary benefits offer a one-stop shopping experience, making it easier for employees to purchase insurance that typically is not offered at the workplace, such as auto and homeowners. These types of benefit packages also often have discounted premiums and/or reduced underwriting.

What is the future of voluntary benefits?

There is a marked increase in the number of employers offering a defined contribution model, which provides a complementary platform for voluntary products. A defined contribution or cafeteria-style approach offers choice among medical, dental and vision benefits and also includes a variety of voluntary benefits.

The defined contribution model allows employers to identify a specific dollar amount or ‘defined contribution’ for each employee, typically by coverage tier. Each employee selects benefits based on their individual needs. Any costs in excess of the defined contribution allowance are the responsibility of the employee.

The defined contribution model gets away from the one-size-fits-all mentality and allows employees greater choice while offering the employer more budget certainty.

How can business owners get started with adding voluntary benefits to their benefits package?

Voluntary benefits are a great way to enhance your benefits package, differentiate from competitors and increase employee satisfaction — all with little or no impact on your budget.

Work with your advisor to decide what voluntary product offering makes sense for your team and educate your employees on the advantages of these voluntary benefits so you both can reap the rewards.

Ron Carmassi is a sales executive at JRG Advisors, the management arm of ChamberChoice. Reach him at (412) 456-7015 or ron.carmassi@jrgadvisors.net.

Insights Employee Benefits is brought to you by ChamberChoice

Published in Pittsburgh