What Is the Role of Voluntary Benefits in the Modern Landscape

We have been hearing a lot about voluntary benefits since the COVID pandemic and subsequent Great Resignation. In fact, general agencies like Dallas-based BenefitMall have been encouraging brokers to offer their clients as many voluntary benefits as possible. Their recommendations beg a question: what is the role of voluntary benefits in the modern landscape?

Voluntary benefits are not new. However, they have traditionally been considered add-ons, if you will. They used to be the domain of large corporations and startups looking for creative ways to make employees happier about their benefits packages. But just about every company these days – regardless of size or industry – has to take a serious look at voluntary benefits.


Two Primary Purposes

BenefitMall sees two primary purposes for offering voluntary benefits. The first purpose is to help employees make the best use of whatever benefits are made available to them. In that regard, there are three considerations:

  1. Addressing the Unexpected – Many voluntary benefits are designed to help employees address the unexpected. For example, long-term medical coverage can replace lost income in the event an employee is out of work for an extended amount of time.
  2. Reducing Expenses – Another goal of voluntary benefits is to help reduce employee expenses on things they are already paying for. A good example here is pet insurance. A pet insurance policy usually offers participants access to lower cost veterinary services, food, and pet supplies.
  3. Promoting Well Being – Finally, some voluntary benefits are designed to promote employee wellbeing. They include things like access to mental health services and financial management assistance.

The second purpose behind voluntary benefits is to help employers expand their packages without spending a ton of money. An added bonus is being able to increase benefit flexibility by giving employees the opportunity to pick and choose from a large selection of voluntary benefits as they see fit.

A larger selection can accomplish two things. First, having more benefits to choose from tends to make employees happier and more loyal. Second, an extensive basket of voluntary options can give a company an edge in terms of recruiting and retention.

Voluntary Benefits From the Broker’s Standpoint

Voluntary benefits play a big role in the modern benefits landscape. But they are not important just to employers and their employees. They are also important to brokers. As in any other industry, brokers need to continually add new customers to grow their businesses. Given the fact that employers are always looking for ways to improve their benefits packages, promoting voluntary benefits gives brokers the chance to act as full-service partners capable of offering the widest selection of traditional and voluntary products.

Another way to put it is to say that brokers can utilize voluntary benefits to attract new business. They can use voluntary benefits to keep current customers in the fold. The best of the best work as full-service brokers on behalf of their clients. They search for the best benefits, put together employee-focused packages, and then help employers administer the benefits where applicable.

A Cost-Effective Strategy

From both the broker and employer perspective, voluntary benefits represent a cost-effective strategy for giving employees what they want without costing an arm and a leg. The beauty of voluntary benefits is that employers do not have to cover the entire cost themselves. And in some cases, employers spend nothing at all. Yet their employees get access to very good benefits that help them address unexpected events, reduce their routine expenses, and improve their wellbeing. There is a lot to love and very little to dislike.

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