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GUARDIAN REINVENTS INDIVIDUAL WORKSITE DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE WITH DI@WORKTM
{ts '2008-07-15 00:00:00.000'}


For media inquiries, contact:
Wendy Webster Coakley
The Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 413.395.4467
Fax: 413.395.5986
wendy_coakley@berkshirelife.com
Anayo Afolabi
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 212.598.8329
Fax: 212.919.2790
anayo_afolabi@glic.com



NEW YORK, N.Y., July 15, 2008 — With an all-new, fully customizable online enrollment system and recently reduced rates, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) is making it easier for employers to add value to their employee benefits programs without taxing administrative resources or adding to costs.
DI@WorkTM, Guardian’s new supplemental disability income (DI) insurance program offered by its wholly-owned stock subsidiary, Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America (Berkshire), provides a number of ways for benefits managers and business owners to differentiate their benefits portfolios in today’s competitive recruiting market:


  • The best of group and individual DI protection—For qualified employee groups, DI@WorkTM guarantees access to high-quality coverage, with no medical underwriting restrictions and at discounted group rates (which Berkshire has lowered even further). Unlike standard group long-term disability (LTD) plans, employees own their policies. They can even take them with them if they leave the company.
  • More ways to protect current and future income—DI@WorkTM programs can be customized with a variety of value-added options, including annual cost-of-living increases; a waiver of premiums for up to 12 months if the policy owner becomes unemployed; additional coverage for up to 100 percent of employee contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, plus cover any employer match; and more.
  • More protection for executives—While group LTD plans cover a certain percentage of income, there’s usually a limit on how much they’ll pay each month. In addition, group LTD plans typically don’t cover incentive compensation or bonuses, important sources of income for many of today’s highly compensated employees.


“Today’s employees are more discerning about their benefits packages,” said Michelle (Shelly) Mushinski, Manager of Multi-Life Segment Marketing at Berkshire. “In an uncertain economy, Americans understand how critical their ability to earn an income is to their quality of life. To them, disability income insurance is no longer a luxury, and companies that can help their employees address this concern will definitely have a leg up on the competition.”
According to Insurance & Behavior: Life Without Income, a Guardian-Berkshire consumer survey undertaken in April 2008, 28 percent of employees are extremely or very concerned about losing their income within the next 6 to 12 months because an accident or illness would make them unable to work. In comparison, a nearly equal number (25 percent) are concerned about losing their jobs within the next 6 to 12 months due to economic conditions.

Benefits Managers Deserve Benefits of Their Own
“These days, it’s particularly challenging to structure an attractive benefits program,” Mushinski observed. “Benefit costs are increasing. Employee expectations are greater than ever. And employer administrative resources are stretched to the limit. What makes DI@WorkTM different from other programs is how little work the employer has to do.”

Unlike many one-size-fits-all voluntary programs or group offerings, DI@WorkTM can be customized to align with each company’s unique benefit and business objectives in any or all of the following ways:
  • Tailored product solutions, with modified coverage limits and available options;
  • Customized offerings for different employee groups within the organization;
  • Different funding arrangements, including employer-paid, employee-paid and even cost-sharing;
  • Materials that are personalized with the company’s brand and other information;
  • Outreach strategies that promote the availability and appeal of this benefit in a way that fits the communications culture.
“A law firm might prefer customized letters and brochures to engage their associates, while an ad agency may want to use HTML e-mails and automated voicemails,” Mushinski observed. “DI@WorkTM allows for that level of customization as the underpinning of a successful enrollment ratio.”

Online Enrollment System = Ease, Education, Flexibility and Added Value
One of the key customizable DI@WorkTM tools is an online enrollment Web site. It combines personalized education and income scenarios based on each employee’s situation with actionable navigation that makes it easy to begin the application process. When they’re ready, employees simply click on the application and answer a few easy questions. They can even apply online for additional DI coverage if the company plan makes that option available.
“Our online enrollment tool not only incorporates a company’s brand ‘look and feel’ and the specific plan designed by the benefits manager, it allows for any variations for different groups within the company, such as employees versus executives,” Mushinski said.
“When you layer an employee’s individual financial and lifestyle circumstances on top of that already customized platform, you have an enrollment decision-making experience that truly is unique to each applicant,” she added.
And, unlike some supplemental programs, DI@WorkTM continues to provide expert support for benefits managers past the initial enrollment period, with services ranging from payroll deduction reminders, toll-free claim service and targeted engagement tactics for new hires, employees who may have declined the coverage earlier and those eligible for coverage increases.
“With so many demands on the time and resources of today’s business owners and other benefits decision makers, adding supplemental DI insurance to the benefits plan may not be at the top of the list,” Mushinski acknowledged.

“That’s why Berkshire’s DI@WorkTM program is focused on letting companies of all sizes provide more work benefits with less work.”
To learn more about how DI@WorkTM can offer organizations more flexibility and their employees more value, benefits managers should call Berkshire’s toll-free DI@WorkTM information line at 866-590-8847. Interested insurance brokers may contact the nearest Guardian agency viawww.GuardianLife.com/service_center/find_a_local_office.html. Each agency is staffed with at least one Disability Income Specialist, who provides local sales support and service for individual disability income insurance cases.


About Guardian
Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, Guardian and its subsidiaries had $41.3 billion in assets (on a consolidated statutory basis). With close to 3,000 financial representatives and 80 agencies nationwide, Guardian and its subsidiaries protect individuals, small business owners, and their employees with life, disability, health, long-term care, and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities and other financial products and trust services. Specializing in the small to midsize business market, Guardian's Group business unit serves more than 120,000 employers, 6 million employees and their families. More information about Guardian can be obtained at www.GuardianLife.com.

About Berkshire
Berkshire Life Insurance Company of America, Pittsfield, Mass. (Berkshire), is a wholly owned stock subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, N.Y. Its key missions are to grow Guardian’s individual disability income and long-term care lines of business and to research and develop new insurance products. More information about Berkshire can be obtained at www.BerkshireLife.com.

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