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2009 Press Releases

METLIFE’S ENHANCED BENEFITS BENCHMARKING TOOL PROVIDES EMPLOYERS AND BROKERS WITH TREND INSIGHTS FOR MAXIMIZING BENEFITS RETURN ON INVESTMENT

NEW YORK, August 10, 2009 – MetLife, a leading provider of employee benefits, announced today the availability of its enhanced Web-based Benefits Benchmarking Tool, designed to help employers and brokers maximize the value of their employee benefits programs within the competitive landscape.  Through customized queries, the tool now allows for comparing and contrasting benefits offerings, objectives, strategies, and preferences along more than 80 dimensions such as industry, company size, region, and many employee demographics.  The complimentary tool is available at whymetlife.com/benefitsbenchmark.

“Employee benefits programs can be strategic differentiators for employers looking to attract and retain valued employees.  Understanding benefits trends across various industries, geographies, and company sizes is essential since competitors in the war for talent can take many forms.  It is also important for employers to gain insights into the preferences of their own employee demographics in order to design the most effective programs for addressing employee loyalty, satisfaction and retention goals,” said Anthony J. Nugent, executive vice president, MetLife Employee Benefits Sales. 

The MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool provides detail-rich data in an easy-to-use, online format.  In three easy steps, users can select, view, and download benefits data as it relates to specific marketplace trends based on their unique interests.  Users can compare and contrast the data along multiple variables, creating over 600 possible charts, to inform actionable results.  As examples, the MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool reveals the following:

  • Benefits Most Valued by Workers.  By using the Benefits Benchmarking Tool, brokers and employers will see that benefits considered most important by employees may vary among many demographics, including type of workforce.  For example, although medical insurance is at the top of the list for both blue collar and white collar workers, the second and third most important benefits are strikingly different.


    Blue Collar                              White Collar
    1. Medical Insurance                   1. Medical Insurance
    2. Prescription Drug Coverage      2. Vacation Time
    3. Dental Insurance                     3. Retirement Products

    Knowing the benefits preferences of a particular employee demographic can help employers and brokers to deliver a benefits program that optimizes its value to all stakeholders.  For example, an employer with a blue collar workforce that does not currently offer dental or prescription drug coverage may want to consider adding these options.

  • Industry Insights and Wellness Programs.  Public Administration, Manufacturing and Education are three industries leading the way in offering workplace wellness programs.  About half of Public Administration employers and 39% of Manufacturing and Education employers offer a wellness program to their employees, compared to 33% of employers overall.  However, the Benefits Benchmarking Tool also reveals employee participation rates in wellness programs are not as high among Public Administration employees as they are for the other two industries, suggesting a closer examination is needed of current motivation methods.
  • Younger Employees Also Concerned about Retirement.  Similar to the level of interest expressed by their older colleagues in retirement planning, 46% of Gen Y employees (compared to 52% of Gen X employees and 46% of Baby Boomers) are interested in their employers providing access to retirement planners through the workplace.  Likewise, 44% of Gen Y employees are also very interested in their employers providing access to retirement planning seminars (compared to 46% of Gen X workers and 44% of Baby Boomers).  These findings indicate that one should not underestimate the value of retirement planning advice offered in the workplace for employees of all ages.

An Employer’s “Benefits Profile”

Another new feature of MetLife’s Benefits Benchmarking Tool this year is the ability for employers and brokers to answer a few questions to determine their – or their client’s – benefits profile.  Determining into which of four benefits profiles an employer falls can not only help in defining the current approach to benefits, but also help in determining future benefits strategies.  Through examining market research data on employer attitudes about benefits business objectives and strategies, Dr. Ronald Leopold, vice president, MetLife U.S. Business, found four distinct benefits profiles which he labeled: Traditional (preserving commitments), Standard (providing the basics), Progressive (innovating for competitive advantage) and Flexible (balancing employee choice and cost).

“Employers and brokers that make use of the new benefits profile analysis in the MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool stand to gain insights into how benefits programs can be effectively enhanced within the existing company culture,” said Dr. Leopold. 

For example, employers in the “Progressive” profile view their medical benefits as a top benefit contributing to employee loyalty – 79% of Progressive employers say health benefits are important to contributing to their employees’ sense of loyalty, compared to 59% of employers overall.  This may be why Progressive employers include certain enhancements in their health programs at higher rates: 51% offer health reimbursement accounts, 47% offer retiree medical insurance, 47% offer employee assistance programs (EAPs), and 45% offer wellness programs.  These employers may be interested in learning about how other types of financial protection offerings for employees can complement their underlying medical coverage, such as disability and critical illness insurance.

More detailed information on the four benefits profiles can be found in Dr. Leopold’s book, The Benefits Edge: Honing the Competitive Value of Employee Benefits, which can be requested free of charge when visiting whymetlife.com/benefitsbenchmark.

About the Data

The MetLife Benefits Benchmarking Tool uses as its underlying data the 7th annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends and the MetLife 2008 Open Enrollment Study.  The 7th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends surveyed employers and employees at two different points in time, August 2008 and November 2008, to assess how employer and employee attitudes toward employee benefits may have changed from prior years, and, more specifically, how they may have been affected by the changing economic climate. Both sets of research interviews were fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. More than 1,500 interviews were conducted with benefits decision-makers at companies with two or more employees, representing a mix of industries and geographic regions, and more than 1,300 interviews were conducted with full-time employees, age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees.

The MetLife 2008 Open Enrollment Study includes results from a survey of 1,204 employees, conducted online during the first quarter 2008. Fielded by GfK Custom Research North America, the survey is based on responses from a broad cross section of employees, age 21 and older, who are working full-time for a company offering benefits and have at least some say in benefits decision-making for their household.

About MetLife

MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance, employee benefits and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

keldred@metlife.com

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