Colonial Life survey shows small business employees are interested in voluntary benefits

Only half of employees in smaller companies have benefits now

COLUMBIA, S.C.--()--Though employees of small businesses are much less likely to have benefits than those in larger companies, they show considerable interest in purchasing them if offered through their employer.1

That’s just one of the findings of an online survey of more than 1,000 full-time and part-time U.S. employees conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company. The survey revealed that only 52 percent of employees at small businesses (those with fewer than 100 employees) have a benefits package, as opposed to 87 percent of employees who work for larger companies (100 employees or more).

“Although employees in smaller companies are much less likely to have benefits, a strong majority of them expressed interest in purchasing insurance benefits if they had access to them through their employers,” says Rich Williams, senior vice president, growth markets, at Colonial Life.

In fact, 80 percent of employees, regardless of company size, say they are at least somewhat interested in purchasing additional benefits. Employees in small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) express interest in purchasing the following types of insurance benefits:

  • Life insurance — 49 percent
  • Short-term disability insurance — 46 percent
  • Critical illness insurance — 40 percent
  • Accident insurance — 40 percent
  • Cancer insurance — 21 percent

Nearly half of small business employees whose employers offer benefits say they are taking on a bigger role in their benefits decision-making than in the past, which is consistent across employer size. Specifically, 47 percent of employees in companies with fewer than 100 employees say they now have more responsibility when it comes to selecting their health insurance and other insurance benefits at work.

The survey also showed that nearly all employees whose employers offer benefits (95 percent) are comfortable making their benefits decisions, with only 5 percent saying they’re not at all comfortable.

“Employees in small businesses need financial protection just the same as workers in larger companies,” says Williams. “Although many of them don’t have benefits today, it’s clear they’re interested and willing to pay for benefits that can help protect them and their families. Small business employers can feel encouraged about the solution voluntary benefits offers to them and their workers.”

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, cancer, critical illness and supplemental health insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million working Americans and their families. For more information visit or connect with the company at, and

1 Survey Methodology: Online survey conducted within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company from March 28 to April 1, 2014, among 2,048 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,029 are employed full-time or part-time and 392 whose employer employs fewer than 100 employees. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Jeanna Moffett at Colonial Life at


Colonial Life
Jeanna Moffett, 803-678-5445

Release Summary

Small business employees are interested in voluntary benefits, even though many don't have benefits packages.


Colonial Life
Jeanna Moffett, 803-678-5445