Seismic shifts in the way people live and work — caused by a range of forces from technological advances to COVID-19 — have fundamentally changed employee benefits expectations. Sontiq’s 4th annual Benefit Broker Survey spotlights this key finding, backed by four years of primary research on benefit trends. This year’s report surveyed the largest pool of employee benefit brokers, with more than 250 responding.
Among the 2021 Benefit Broker Survey’s findings, employers are seeking to balance the needs of an ever more remote workplace. They are also focused on keeping employees healthy and productive to a degree not seen before. In addition, the move toward virtual human interactions is a sea change that puts increased focus on protecting employees’ privacy, as well as physical and digital health.
“The impact of employees moving to virtual environments during the pandemic is fundamentally changing how employers think about employee wellness,” said Sontiq’s President & CEO Brian J. Longe. “This year’s survey reveals that benefit brokers see themselves positioned to help meet the growing employee interest in migrating to digital and virtual interactions. For example, using mobile apps and having access to telemedicine and telehealth are hot benefit areas. Employee wellness also encompasses financial health and securing employees’ online identities as part of this equation. Benefit managers can help organizations establish programs that reflect these modern and in-demand benefits.”
Key findings from Sontiq’s 2021 Benefit Broker Survey include:
- Employee wellness and rising healthcare costs tied as the top employer concern (64%). Delivering a competitive benefits package was the third most common concern (58%). Rising healthcare costs were once the clear leading concern, topping the list for 83% of brokers surveyed in 2018; but the percentage has dropped each year to this year’s 64%.
- Nearly half (42%) of benefit brokers surveyed said their clients expressed concerns over data breaches, cyber threats and other security issues during the previous 12 months. But, fewer than half of brokers surveyed said they were ready to help their clients handle a data breach.
- Identity theft protection (54%) concerns have increased steadily over the four years of the survey and reached an all-time high this year. In 2021, 65% of brokers reported that their clients requested a recommendation for identity theft protection to add to their employee benefits mix, compared to 32% in 2018.
- This year’s top ID theft benefit request (61%) was Social Security number alerts, rising 26 percentage points to leapfrog credit monitoring, which was the top request in 2020.
- For the first time over the span of the last four years, employee restoration protection around ransomware (22%) appeared as a requested benefit. The increased virtual environment puts employees at greater risk for these malicious attacks that use malware to encrypt files and lock victims out of their data until a “ransom” is paid.
- Mobile app access to benefits (91%) has become a table-stakes benefit, with the number of broker clients reporting that having a mobile app is “very important” or “extremely important” increasing by 8% year over year.
Sontiq (pronounced Son-tick) is an Intelligent Identity Security company arming businesses and consumers with award-winning products and services built to protect what matters most. Sontiq’s brands, IdentityForce, Cyberscout and EZShield provide a full range of identity and cyber monitoring solutions, best-in-class restoration, and response products and services. Sontiq’s products are used by an ever-growing community and empower millions of customers and organizations to be less vulnerable to the financial and emotional consequences of identity theft and cybercrimes. Sontiq and its brands have an outstanding track record for delivering high-touch support and fraud remediation services, demonstrated through its 99% customer satisfaction ratings. Sontiq is a portfolio company of the Wicks Group. Learn more at www.sontiq.com or engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or YouTube.