A new survey has found there is a growing demand for life insurance via employee benefit schemes with many saying they would buy it if it was offered.

In a Harris Poll commissioned by Insurance group OneAmerica, over 1,000 workers were asked for their views on employee benefits.

It found although 28 percent of employed 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.

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 individually. Those who have it say it increasingly gives them the “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,” Mr 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.”

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.

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,” Mr 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.”

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