May 9, 2012

New Tool Allows Disability Benefits Plan Comparison

disbility benchmarkingA new tool (found here) created by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) is allowing companies to compare their disability benefits plan with other companies in order to determine competitiveness and discover industry trends. The online tool, called the Disability Benefits Benchmarking Survey, consists of ten multiple choice questions that delve into the details of a company’s disability program and gathers information regarding items such as benefits waiting periods, length of benefits coverage, maximum limits, and employee contributions to premiums.

Tara Reynolds, corporate vice president at MassMutual stated, “You may be surprised at what you discover. Most employee benefit managers know their plans inside and out, but they may only have speculative information on what other companies offer. For companies seeking strong recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction, this tool can be very valuable.” She continued. “Most employees don’t really know much about their disability benefits until something happens in their life that triggers that moment of ‘uh oh, what do I have?’ Most companies provide access to that information, but until the moment it becomes relevant and real, it’s probably not on their radar screen.”

The tool then automatically benchmarks individual survey results against a group of 316 of the largest firms in the country who also participated in an earlier MassMutual study. This study, entitled “The Employer Perspectives on Disability Benefits Study” revealed some telling data about the state of long-term disability programs in general. Some highlights include data suggesting that only 60 percent of an employee’s base salary is actually covered by the average group plan. The study also found that only 27 percent of disability programs include coverage for bonus and commission income and most programs limit coverage for high-earning employees after basic coverage has been exhausted.

The survey tool is available online at

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.