Employees opt for immediate over long-term benefits

By National Underwriter

National Underwriter

By Noah Guillaume

When it comes to benefits, employees want them now as opposed over the long term.

In the Mercer Making Smart Benefit Choices survey of 10,400 employees in 10 worldwide markets found employees tend to select benefits that provide instant gratification over long-term value.

In seven of the 10 survey markets, paid time off (PTO) was among the top three employee choices. Only six out of 10 markets listed health-related benefits among their top three choices.

Employers say they would like to give employees more decision-making power over their benefits options, but the survey results show employees have yet to find a balance between short- and long-term value.

“Employees valuing more time off and increased pay in the current stress-filled economic environment may be understandable, but there are other benefits that have the potential to create more income protection through health benefits and income replacement through retirement and savings vehicles,” said Dave Rahill, president of Mercer’s Health & Benefits business. “This challenge puts even more pressure on employers to deeply understand and communicate the value of various benefits to their employees so they can make smart choices.”

Closer to home, U.S. employees said they were most willing to pay for disability, life and auto insurance. Accident and hospital indemnity insurance were also relatively popular, while legal assistance and identity theft insurance ranked near the bottom.

Disability insurance appeals more to those aged 55-64 and transportation industry employees; retail discounts to young singles living independently and households with children; and hospital indemnity insurance to those aged 65 and older and senior managers. Auto insurance ranks highly among those that work more than 50 hours a week and those in the high-tech industry; homeowner insurance among those with household incomes between $50,000 and $60,000; and pet insurance among those in professional services.

In other industry news:

National Interstate Corporation (Nasdaq: NATL) entered into a $100 million, five-year unsecured Credit Agreement with Fifth Third Bank, as administrative agent and lead arranger, and U.S. Bank National Association, as documentation agent.

The company has the ability to increase the line of credit to $125 million subject to the agreement's accordion feature. The credit agreement replaces an existing $50 million credit facility. As of Sept. 30, 2012, National Interstate's debt to total equity ratio was 5.7 percent. The credit facility may be used for general corporate purposes, including items such as working capital and acquisitions.

Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com