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2010 Press Releases

METLIFE HIGHLIGHTS STRATEGIES COMPANIES CAN USE TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN HIGHER WAGE EARNERS

New York, NY - November 15, 2010 – MetLife, a leading provider of employee benefits, today announced the availability of a new resource that provides employers and brokers with practical strategies for developing more competitive benefits programs for more highly compensated employees. Watch the Gap! Recalibrating Income Protection Benefits for Highly Compensated Employees outlines actions employers can take to maximize the value of their income protection programs. The resource is available at metlife.com/executivebenefits.

“Nearly half of full-time employees surveyed making $100,000 or more a year say their benefits are the foundation of their financial safety net, yet basic employer-sponsored group benefits may not provide enough income protection for their needs. Watch the Gap provides tips for helping more highly compensated employees obtain the right amount of insurance and financial protection,” says Cynthia Smith, vice president, Executive Benefits Sales, MetLife.

For example, group long-term disability plans typically cover 60% of an employee’s base salary before tax, but they often do not cover incentive compensation such as bonuses and commissions. They also typically have a maximum benefit cap. Similar limitations are found when it comes to life insurance, as the coverage needs of the highly compensated may often exceed group plan maximums. Therefore, it may not come as a surprise that more than half of these higher wage earners say they are very concerned about the financial effects of a loss of income in the event of a disability and/or premature death.

To help close this gap in coverage, Smith suggests employers look at adding an individual disability income (IDI) policy to complement the group long-term disability benefit as well as consider implementing a group variable universal life (GVUL) program. The resource describes how:

  • An IDI policy can provide more appropriate income protection for highly compensated employees by insuring their income beyond the group maximum, and covering other sources of compensation such as bonuses and commissions. These programs can often be implemented for as few as five employees and may include limited underwriting.
  • GVUL provides a different type of life insurance solution for the unique protection, estate and planning needs of highly compensated employees. GVUL is an enhanced permanent life insurance policy that typically offers access to higher plan maximums than a typical group term plan. Additionally, GVUL includes an optional tax-advantaged investment opportunity that high earners can leverage to accumulate money for retirement, medical expenses and other future financial needs.

Smith also suggests that employers look at creating an executive carve-out plan using IDI and GVUL. An executive carve-out plan creates a pool of more highly compensated employees and provides higher coverage and tax advantages to better meet their needs and may be more cost-effective than modifying the existing group benefit plan.

“Closing the gap between the coverage that existing group plans provide and what more highly compensated employees need can help employers achieve advantages for themselves and their employees,” says Smith.

About MetLife

MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

Contact:

jmahaney@metlife.com

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