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Employees can save between 5% and 20% on their home and car insurance if they buy it through your organization’s voluntary benefits program.

That can be a welcome relief to an employee whose health insurance premiums are steadily increasing, and a way for employers to give workers a break on another necessary expense.

About 13% of employers overall—and 22% of large employers—offer auto insurance as a voluntary benefit, the Society for Human Resource Management estimates. Seven percent (15% of large organizations) offer home insurance.

Offsetting HR’s bad news

Those numbers are rapidly rising, says Robert Maloney, vice president of affinity sales for Boston-based Liberty Mutual. Maloney notes that 1.1 million employees have become eligible for its employer-sponsored policies in each of the past three years.

He attributes the popularity of the relatively new employee benefit to a push by insurance companies to work with employers.

“We’re seeing HR gravitate toward voluntary benefits to offset the bad news they have to deliver regarding the rise in the cost of health care.”

Wayne State University in Detroit offers employees a 15% discount on car insurance and a 5% discount on home insurance. “We’re always looking for ways to enhance our benefit packages and value to the employees without involving additional employer expense,” says Brett Green, the university’s total compensation and wellness director. About 10% of the university’s benefits-eligible employees participate.

Gauge employee interest

Green says that interested employers should survey employees about offering this type of voluntary benefit. “The primary advice would be to determine from your employee population if there’s a desire for this type of program,” Green says. 

Tips for making it work

Here are seven tips for offering home and auto insurance to employees:

1. Ask employees whether they want it. Before you add insurance discounts to your list of voluntary benefits, survey workers to learn whether it’s worthwhile for your organization.

2. Shop around. Issue a request for proposals or call various insurance providers to find the best value for your employees based on age, location and other demographics.

3. Don’t buy on price alone. Insurance rates change frequently, so the provider that offers the lowest quote is unlikely to sustain price leadership over the long haul.

4. Ask vendors about their other clients. Are they the same size as your organization? How many of their employees participate? What is their average premium?

5. Strike deals with more than one insurance carrier so you can offer your employees a choice.

6. Constantly remind employees about the benefit. Because employees’ existing home or auto insurance policies will expire at different times, someone is always in the market for the product. Make sure your employees know about the benefit when it’s time for them to decide where to buy insurance.

7. Allow employees to pay their premiums via payroll deductions.

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