American Workers Want Life Insurance as an Employee Benefit, Survey Says

While 28% of employees have it at their workplace, 59% likely to welcome it, says OneAmerica®-Harris Poll

Indianapolis, August 30, 2019

Although 28 percent of employed1 Americans have voluntary group life insurance through their employer, 59% of workers who say they don’t because their employer doesn’t offer it say they would be likely to purchase it if it was an option.

That’s according to a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica® of over 1,000 U.S. adults 18 years or older who are employed full- or part-time2 that illustrated why this foundational employee benefit is coveted — to protect themselves and their loved ones from future financial hardship.

It is the second year in a row respondents have stated they see group life insurance as a valuable worksite benefit because it is often unavailable to them to purchase individually3. Those who have it say it increasingly gives them “peace of mind” that they are after (44% in 2018 vs 53% in 2019) to survive should a tragedy happen.

”September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and the information gathered by The Harris Poll provides further proof of the strong desire for employed Americans to have access to solutions to protect the financial future of their families,” said Dan Aiello, regional vice president of sales and service, employee benefits at OneAmerica. “For most employees, the workplace is now the only opportunity to be educated about and purchase life insurance form a fully vetted carrier.”

”Today, voluntary benefits aren’t voluntary at the employer level,” Aiello added. “Employees are demanding these types of products and our brokers understand that their employer groups have to offer them to round out a comprehensive and competitive benefit program.”

Almost half of workers who do not have voluntary group life insurance through their employer (47%) say it’s because their employer does not offer it; among them, a majority (59%) say that if their employer was to offer voluntary group life insurance they would be likely to purchase it.

When asked why they have voluntary group life insurance through their employer, 53% say peace of mind; 44% say it’s to protect family/loved ones from future financial hardship; 39% say it is to pay off debts and final expenses in the event of their passing; 23% to leave an inheritance for children or grandchildren; and 21% to replace a spouse/partner’s income in the event of their passing.

“Our brokers, sales team and employer clients all view employer-provided group life insurance for what it truly is—an affordable way to provide coverage for an unplanned life event,” Aiello said. “If a breadwinner in the family dies unexpectedly, nothing can bring that person back. But what we can and do deliver is comfort, support and the relief from financial insecurity and devastation.”

Although it is open enrollment season for those employers who had already purchased policies leading up to January 1, any employer has the ability to contact a broker about either group life insurance or disability income insurance at any time. (OneAmerica Small Business Solutions, for example, are available in a variety of options to organizations as small as 2 employees.)

The OneAmerica/Harris Poll provided opportunities for carriers to address:

  • 28% of employed Americans have voluntary group life insurance through their employer, and significantly more male employees (31%) than female employees (24%) say they have it.
  • 29% of younger employees, ages 18- to 34, have voluntary group life insurance through their employer; the next-closest, at 28%, are ages 35 to 44 years old.
  • Employees with annual household incomes between $75,000 and $99,999 are more likely than those with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 to have voluntary group life insurance through their employer (35% vs. 17%).

Of the American workforce who reported they did not have voluntary group life insurance through work, the leading reason they didn’t have coverage was not that they had other obligations/expenses that are more important (13%), didn’t see the value of it (13%), couldn’t afford it (11%) or were healthy and didn’t need it (11%); it was because their employers don’t offer the benefit (47%).

Meanwhile, the survey showed that 44% of employed Americans had traditional group life insurance (i.e. term life insurance offered by an employer that is paid for by the employer.)

“Life insurance is one of the most important types of insurance coverage available for the financial wellness of middle America,” Aiello said. “Companies who offer voluntary group life insurance keep their own benefits costs low and give their employees a valuable, lower-cost life insurance option than the employees would be able to purchase in the individual insurance marketplace.”

“We need to do more to educate companies and workers on this valuable and cost-effective core foundational benefit.”

Find more information at https://www.oneamerica.com/products-services/business-life-insurance.

OneAmerica® is the marketing name for the companies of OneAmerica. Insurance products issues and underwritten through American United Life Insurance Company® (AUL), a OneAmerica company. Harris Insights & Analytics is not an affiliate of the companies of OneAmerica.

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About OneAmerica®

A national provider in the insurance and financial services marketplace for more than 140 years, the companies of OneAmerica help customers build and protect their financial futures. OneAmerica offers a variety of products and services to serve the financial needs of their policyholders and customers. These products include retirement plan products and recordkeeping services, individual life insurance, annuities, asset-based long-term care solutions and employee benefit plan products. Products are issued and underwritten by the companies of OneAmerica and distributed through a nationwide network of employees, agents, brokers and other sources who are committed to providing value to our customers. To learn more about our products, services and the companies of OneAmerica, visit OneAmerica.com/companies.


About The Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys in the U.S. tracking public opinion, motivations and social sentiment since 1963 that is now part of Harris Insights & Analytics, a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. We work with clients in three primary areas; building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. Our mission is to provide insights and advisory to help leaders make the best decisions possible.


[1] Employed is defined as full-time or part-time

[2] The 2019 survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica from April 18-22, 2019 among 1,017 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are employed full-time or part-time. The 2018 survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of OneAmerica from Jul 26-30, 2018 among 1,054 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who are employed full-time or part-time. These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodologies, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Tom Spalding at 317-656-7644.

[3] Source: https://www.oneamerica.com/newsroom/news-releases/group-life-insurance-employee-benefits-harris-poll-oneamerica

Tom Spalding, Public Relations Manager, 317-285-1461