Strong year shaping up for voluntary sales

By BenefitsPro

By Dan Cook

Voluntary sales are racing into the fourth quarter with a full head of steam.

That’s the indication from a survey by Eastbridge Consulting Group, which released results of its mid-year Voluntary Industry Confidence Index.

The numbers: 37 percent of respondents say that sales have met expectations so far this year. Another 42 percent report they’ve exceeded expectations. That's almost 80 percent reporting that 2013 will be a very solid year for voluntary sales.

There were two major, and quite straightforward, reasons cited for higher-than-expected sales: selling more, or larger cases, than predicted.

Just more than a quarter of the carriers said the increase was related to new product introductions.

The 21 percent of carriers surveyed who reported lower-than-expected results pointed to “fewer cases than anticipated” as the top reason, with “lower participation rates” the second most common reason cited by this group.

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents expect to increase the number of new groups they write this year compared to last year, Eastbridge reported.

“The results show there is a strong connection between sales and new group growth,” says Bonnie Brazzell, vice president of Eastbridge.

“New group growth will continue to drive voluntary sales going forward, much more so than higher participation rates or an increase in the number of producing reps,’” Brazzell said.

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