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Why employers should help get the word out about disability insurance

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It could be argued that there has been something of a revolution over the last decade as far as workplace wellness is concerned. Indeed, while more workers than ever are now making healthy choices, incorporating exercise into their day and prioritizing a work-life balance, they are also looking more toward the future by investing in retirement accounts and setting aside money in an emergency fund.

While this development is certainly cause for celebration, it's also important to note that though employees may be planning for the future, they aren't necessarily planning for the unexpected.

By way of illustration, consider that a recent study of 1,400 U.S. workers by the insurance giant Cigna found that the majority of those surveyed were unable to explain the purpose of disability insurance -- both short-term and long-term -- and why it's so imperative.

Even more discouraging, 39 percent of those surveyed were laboring under the misapprehension that the federal Family and Medical Leave Act -- otherwise known as the FMLA --- would cover any income lost due to a debilitating injury.

In light of these figures and the fact that as many as two-thirds of U.S. workers are currently living paycheck-to-paycheck, experts indicate that it may be time for employers to take on a more defined role.

Specifically, they are arguing that it might be time for those employers who wisely offer protection against a loss of income via disability insurance to devise a system whereby they provide employees with clear, concise and age appropriate information about the importance of disability insurance.  

Indeed, it's easy to see how a specially tailored message designed to educate young workers about their vulnerability, how their everyday expenses can easily become crippling debt due to lost income, and the inherent wisdom in planning for the unexpected.

What are your thoughts on employers lending a greater hand in this area? Is it time for another revolution?

Source: Charlotte Business Journal, "4 steps to helping your employees build a financial safety net," Dana Manciagli, Dec. 9, 2016

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