But voluntary benefits do not provide a protection or service at a lower cost in most instances. Take life insurance for example. Most carrier rates on voluntary insurance are comparable to substandard rates for individuals. So it may be a good deal for your employees that are the least healthy or smoke, but not for the majority of your workforce. And the least healthiest % of your workforce tend to be the least productive of your employees. Therefore, you're attracting and retaining employees you really don't want to have at your company.
And AFLAC is the absolute worst. Not only are the rates ridiculous, but the contracts are terrible - much worse than your standard group contract and 10x worse than your standard individual policy.
I was in product development at MetLife when they came out with pre-paid legal, at least a revamped product. Now this is fine so long as you use the product to set up a will, living will, etc. for the 12 months you are getting payroll deducted. But for you to annually renew the product and not use it? Again, a complete waste of money, especially when the product has a limited scope.
And some life and disability carriers are offering identity theft protection on different products at no cost. I'm not sure how the different provisions stack up vs. your voluntary product, but I bet it's not that far off, or at least not worth the difference in cost.
Voluntary benefits made a whole lot more sense when they were first rolled out because:
1. We didn't have the internet. Purchasing any type of individual insurance 20 years ago would have been extremely time consuming if an individual wanted to be thorough.
2. They were originally written on standard group insurance contracts. While some group provisions still aren't as robust as individual provisions, they are a lot closer than the AFLAC, Colonial, All State, etc. provisions.
3. The convenience of payroll deduction. This is fairly moot these days since just about every insurance carrier allows an individual to have his or her checking account debited on a monthly basis at no cost. Having to pay annually upfront several years back for an individual policy could have been a financial hardship to a lot of people.
4. The market wasn't saturated. If your company offered good voluntary benefits 20+ years ago, it was a trendsetter. And perhaps these benefits did aid in attraction and retention of employees. Now, I would expect the majority of companies offer some voluntary benefits. Unfortunately, the majority of these companies offer the individual policies disguised as group insurance which are a waste of money. Furthermore, any company, for the most part, can sign up for AFLAC, Colonial, etc. and get the same rates as any other company. So you tell me - do you really think this helps when it comes to the attraction and retention of employees?