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Majority of Employers Overwhelmed With Increased Complexity of Managing Benefits

Employers seek new solutions for cost control, compliance and plan administration

NEW YORK, N.Y., January 31, 2017 – The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), one of the nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee benefits, today released Benefits Balancing Act, the third set of findings from the Fourth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM.

The research highlights the increasing challenges employers face in managing benefits costs, improving administrative efficiency, and maintaining plan compliance, all while trying to improve workforce health and productivity.






  • Six in 10 employers feel overwhelmed with the increased complexity of managing their benefits programs. Larger firms (100 or more employees) are struggling the most (69 percent) especially with installing new coverages, changing carriers, and employee communication and enrollment.
  • Controlling costs and keeping benefits affordable for their workforce remain employers’ top benefits priorities, but traditional approaches are proving to be less effective, causing some employers to shift strategies. Less than one-third of companies believe that employee cost-sharing and high deductible health plans (HDHPs) have been highly successful in achieving cost-cutting objectives.
  • Compliance is the number one benefits-related concern for more than one in four employers surveyed, yet less than one-third indicate that their companies are well-prepared to address it. Seven in 10 believe their firms are unable to keep up with changes to federal, state or local laws, including the Affordable Care Act, paid parental leave laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Our research confirms that managing employee benefits programs isn’t getting any easier, and for a growing number of companies the cost and complexity are becoming daunting,” said Dave Mahder, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Guardian’s Group and Worksite Markets business.

“More employers are turning to external expertise and technology for help in designing and executing their benefits plans. With more capabilities available in the marketplace, we’re seeing employers use a wider range of vendors to fill very specific roles. In fact, according to our study, more than one-third of companies use at least three different vendors to handle various parts of their benefits administration.”

The trend toward benefits administration outsourcing continues to accelerate as companies struggle to effectively manage their employee benefits programs. Having external options is crucial, especially among small businesses, where one in three report having no dedicated in-house resources to manage their benefits programs.

Employers are searching for more effective solutions to their benefits challenges. Benefits Balancing Act describes how some employers are taking a longer view of their benefits goals and trying new approaches. For example, they are making strides to address employees’ physical and financial wellness and report greater levels of success in achieving their benefits objectives. Their key priorities and strategies include:

  • Improving workplace well-being: enhancing and promoting wellness and prevention programs, including resources to support workforce mental and emotional health, and offering more effective benefits communication and employee financial education.
  • Increasing benefits administration efficiency: making greater use of outsourcing for specific benefits expertise and technology, especially to strengthen employee enrollment and electronic data interchange.
  • Maintaining benefits plan compliance: utilizing external advice and technology solutions to remain current on ACA requirements and FMLA and ADA federal and state laws.

For more information about Guardian’s workplace benefits solutions or to obtain a copy of Benefits Balancing Act from the Fourth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM, please visit here; or Guardian Anytime. The info-graphic is available here.




About Guardian
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurers with $7.3 billion in capital and $1.5 billion in operating income (before taxes and dividends to policyholders) in 2015. Founded in 1860, the company has paid dividends to policyholders every year since 1868. Its offerings range from life insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, and investments to dental and vision insurance and employee benefits. The company has approximately 8,000 employees and a network of over 2,750 financial representatives in 57 agencies nationwide. For more information about Guardian, please visit our website You can also follow Guardian on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.
Financial information concerning The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® as of 12/31/15 on a statutory basis: Admitted Assets = $48.1 Billion; Liabilities = $42 Billion (including $37 Billion of Reserves); and Surplus = $6.1 Billion.