Market Overview

Nearly half of U.S. workers spend 30 minutes or less reviewing benefits before enrollment, Unum finds


Auto-enrollment for disability plans can help employees make better
financial decisions

New research from employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE:UNM) shows
nearly half of U.S. workers (49 percent) spend 30 minutes or less
reviewing their benefits prior to enrollment, according to an online
poll of 1,227 U.S. workers conducted last month. Respondents reported
feeling stressed (21 percent), confused (22 percent) and anxious (20
percent) when enrolling in their benefits.

"Navigating the sea of coverage options can be overwhelming for
employees," said Jenelle Tomazin, director of Consumer Marketing at
Unum. "Auto-enrolling employees in disability coverage on an opt-out
basis can help nudge employees in the right direction while preserving
their freedom to choose."

defaults employees into beneficial coverage, yet also gives them the
choice to opt out. This follows the popular enrollment model with
retirement plans, designed to help employees make better financial

According to Vanguard
, when auto-enrollment is used with retirement plans, it's
been shown to double the number of employees who participate. It's a
model that works, and from large national companies to small local
businesses, automatic enrollment has been the right solution for Unum
clients, as well.

Among the most successful are a warehouse club with 70,000 employees
that had 95 percent employee participation; a 2,000-employee
manufacturer with an 83 percent participation rate; and a 400-employee
auto dealership that saw participation reach 80 percent.

Years of research shows employees need and want disability coverage –
but they neglect to enroll.

  • Seventy-one percent of Americans would find it somewhat or very
    difficult to meet current financial obligations if their paycheck were
    delayed by one week1.
  • Even more (88 percent) think employers should offer disability
    insurance that could help protect their finances if they were unable
    to earn a paycheck due to sickness or injury2.
  • Fifty-six percent of workers even say they'd pay the full premium2.
  • Yet only 26 percent of workers actually sign up, so the majority risk
    their incomes should they become too ill or injured to work3.
  • One in four of today's 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for
    at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach the
    normal retirement age4.

Employers can also boost disability coverage participation by taking an
active approach. With active enrollment, employees must respond with a
yes or no to all benefits being made available. This leads to higher
participation rates and provides employers an opportunity to inform
their employees of new policies or coverage plans. It also helps
employees ensure their coverage matches their current family situation
and needs for the year.

About Unum

Unum Group (
is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United
States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US,
Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum's portfolio includes disability, life,
accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help
protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an
illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help
self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The
company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly
$7 billion in benefits.

For more information, connect with us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

1 American Payroll
Association, National Payroll Week 2017 "Getting Paid in America"
, 2017.
2 Consumer Federation of America and
Unum, "Employee Knowledge and Attitudes About Employer-Provided
Disability Insurance" (2012).

3 LIMRA, "Keeping
Up With the Times" (2015). Mean participation for voluntary short-term
disability coverage.

4 Social Security
Administration, Disability
and Death Probability Tables for Insured Workers Born in 1997
Table A.

View Comments and Join the Discussion!