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The new reality in group and voluntary benefits

The new reality in group and voluntary benefits

The group and voluntary benefit space is at an inflection point.  We’ve seen change play out across the ecosystem at varying speeds for decades as consumer needs and preferences have changed, the business landscape has evolved, and new technology solutions have emerged across the benefits industry.

This rapid change will bring about a new paradigm in the group and voluntary benefits space. This paper focuses on the areas where we believe that change will play out, but we can’t ignore the areas that will stay consistent within the industry.

Insights from Key Insurance Industry Leaders

In separate interviews conducted midway through 2020, KPMG asked three senior insurance executives in Group and Voluntary Benefits segment of the industry to describe their perspectives on the market:

Looking ahead, what is the next biggest change for this industry?

James Reid, Head of Employee Benefits, MetLife

It will be in the further use of technologies (to) give individuals more data about existing risks in their environment, health, and lifestyles, leading to more informed decisions about the benefits they have or may need- including supplemental and voluntary benefits.

These greater insights into our customers and their employees can drive more personalized product offerings by insurers.  According to the MetLife 2020 Employee Benefits Trends study, 67 percent of employees stated their employer provided the flexibility required to manage both work and life. This flexibility becomes even more important as technology creates opportunities for a more global workforce, and employees want to manage their work-life balance.

Fred Crawford, COO, Aflac

There is a lot of interest in the marketplace among those same players to go down market into the less penetrated small-business arena. Unfortunately, in the large-case marketplace, most of the growth comes at the expense of somebody else.   The small business and medium-sized businesses are really where there’s true potential for organic growth for both the industry and the carriers that provide it. Small business is far less penetrated, much more about obtaining new accounts and enrolling new people within those accounts than trading accounts.

Steve Swad, CEO, Benefitfocus:

We are going to see a focus in benefits from an employer’s perspective on the amount of healthcare spend.  If you look at the healthcare spend in this country, it is dramatically inefficient . . . So using artificial intelligent (AI) to notify employees and work with them to reduce their healthcare costs has the added benefit of having healthier and happier people. I think that is going to be a huge space moving forward, and that’s why we are making investments in AI.

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