Workers looking for life, disability or dental insurance information prefer using a Google search engine to relying on a financial advisor. That’s according to the latest edition of Guardian’s Workplace Benefits Study.
Half of those surveyed said they went to Google to obtain information on life, disability and dental coverage. Other preferred sources of information included the insurance company’s website (49 percent), newspapers or magazines (45 percent), human resources department (35 percent) and social media (23 percent). Only 31 percent said they preferred to receive their information from a financial advisor.
Guardian’s survey offers a snapshot of how workers research employer-sponsored benefits, which remain a major draw for employers looking to attract and retain a skilled workforce in an era of falling unemployment.
Survey respondents were at least 22 years old and worked at a company that has at least five employees.
During the benefits enrollment period, 67 percent of workers say they consult with friends or relatives when making benefits selections and 77 percent say they rely on benefits material distributed by their employer, the survey found.
The more employers communicate with employees, the higher the perceived value of the benefits, the survey also found.
“Benefit education and communications solutions can’t be one size fits all, but must be clear, relevant, and personalized to different populations within the workplace in order to be successful,” Ray Marra, senior vice president, group products at Guardian, said in a news release.
The survey found that 26 percent of workers prefer a “do-it-for-me,” or delegation approach to financial decisions.
Workers who gravitate toward a do-it-for-me approach tend to seek out more advice and are more likely to say they take advantage of opportunities to learn more about benefits, Guardian said.
This same do-it-for-me category of employees also said that one-on-one and group benefits meetings are important. As a result, employees in the do-it-for-me category notch higher scores on Guardian’s benefit value index (BVI), a measure of the perceived value of benefits among employees, the survey revealed.
Do-it-for-me employees are more likely to be working with a financial advisor. In addition, employees working with advisors have higher BVI scores, according to the survey.
By contrast, 39 percent of U.S. workers approach financial decision making through a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. This group of employees perceives employer-sponsored benefits to have a lower value than their do-it-for-me counterparts, the survey found.
DIY employees also perceive the value of financial advisors to be lower compared with the perception that the do-it-for-me group has of financial advisors.
Benefits meetings arranged by employers would be more relevant if they were targeted by age, according to 60 percent of the workers surveyed.
Workers who are in their first five years of employment also say they need more personal advice during benefits enrollment, the survey found.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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