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The Hartford Finds Pandemic Renews Focus On Employee Benefits That Provide Financial Protection

September 24, 2020
  • Forty percent of employees will consider purchasing life insurance during their next open enrollment as a result of COVID-19
  • Gen Z and younger Millennials now more likely to purchase additional benefits offered by their company

HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Hartford’s 2020 Future of Benefits Study found that the pandemic has placed a greater emphasis on employer-sponsored benefits that help people plan for unexpected life events and provide financial protection. According to the study, 40% of U.S. workers say they will consider purchasing life insurance during their next open enrollment as a result of COVID-19.

“The pandemic is shining new light on the benefit programs offered to employees through their workplace, revealing features they might have been overlooking,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of Group Benefits at The Hartford. “People are facing challenging circumstances – whether it is the shattering experience of losing a loved one or becoming sick themselves – and are now recognizing the value of financial protection provided by life insurance and other benefit options. As we mark Life Insurance Awareness Month and approach benefits enrollment season, we encourage employees to carefully review and consider the benefits offered by their employer that can help them prevail through difficult life experiences.”

The Hartford’s Future of Benefits Study, which polled U.S. workers and human resource benefit decision makers before the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. in early March 2020, and again in mid-June, found that employees say they would consider purchasing the following benefits during their next open enrollment because of COVID-19:

  • Life insurance: 40%
  • Short-term disability insurance: 30%
  • Long-term disability insurance: 29%
  • Critical illness insurance: 27%
  • Hospital indemnity insurance: 23%

A shift in benefits buying habits

Employees in their early twenties (generally considered Gen Z and younger Millennials) are more likely to upgrade or buy additional benefits offered by their company than they were before the pandemic began. While more workers overall showed interest in upgrading or purchasing additional benefits, the youngest workers indicated the most notable shifts in attitudes.



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“We have been conducting research about Millennials’ preferences for many years and have found that the youngest generation typically has the lowest participation rates in company-sponsored benefits,” Bennett said. “It is encouraging to see this notable shift and it is even more important now to make sure employees have access to educational information to make informed benefits decisions. We’ve developed new resources using data and personalized experiences to communicate the value and affordability of voluntary benefits, as well as the ease of enrollment at work and payment through payroll deductions.”

Personalized benefits experience

Gen Z and younger Millennials consistently indicate that they would like a personalized recommendation for what benefits they should be buying (68% in both waves of the survey). With multiple generations in the workforce today, The Hartford has developed educational resources to help employers communicate benefits options through targeted, data-driven methods, including:

  • An online education center giving employees access to relevant, personalized voluntary benefits information they need to make informed decisions;
  • Tailored communications based on an understanding of their individual benefit needs, influences, life stages, buying habits and mindsets; and
  • A fully digitized benefits experience employees can access at their convenience including one-on-one sessions with benefits counselors, virtual benefits fairs, videos, plan details and other content based on their preferred method of learning.

Insuring more than 20 million Americans, The Hartford is a leading provider of employee benefits products and services, including leave management, group life and disability insurance, as well as other voluntary products. For more information, visit


The Hartford’s 2020 Future of Benefits Study was an online survey fielded in two waves. The first wave was fielded from Feb. 27 – March 13, 2020, just before the pandemic escalated in the United States, and included 761 employers and 1,503 employees. The second wave was fielded from June 15 – June 30, 2020 and included 567 employers and 1,038 employees. The employers surveyed were HR human resource professionals who manage/decide employee benefits and employees surveyed were actively employed. The margin of error is employer +/- 4% and employee +/-3% at a 95% confidence level.

About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at Follow us on Twitter at @TheHartford_PR.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

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Michelle Symington

Source: The Hartford

Multimedia Files:

Future of Benefits Study Infographic pdf?download=1
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