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{ts '2008-09-04 00:00:00.000'}

Olympic Gold Medalist Encourages Americans to Invest Time Reviewing Employee Benefits to Make the Right Choices for Themselves & Families

For media inquiries, contact:
Anayo Afolabi
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Tel: 212.598.8329
Fax: 212.919.2790
Whitney Pettyjohn
Manning Selvage & Lee
Tel: 212.468.3904
Fax: 212.468.3654

NEW YORK, September 04, 2008 — The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), a leading provider of employee benefits for small to mid-sized companies, announced today that it has partnered with soccer super-star and Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm to encourage employees to spend more time reviewing and understanding the importance of benefits during the fall open enrollment season.
Fall marks the beginning of open enrollment season, a time when millions of employees across the United States re-assess their benefit elections. According to a Guardian survey, employees spend 1.4 hours, on average, reviewing their benefits each year, compared to 4.9 hours holiday shopping.

Guardian produced an educational video for employees, business owners and benefit decision makers which highlights how workplace benefits can help employees protect themselves and stay healthy. The video features Hamm, a new mom, and provides tips to help employees make the right benefit choices. The video can be viewed at www.guardianenrollmenttips.com

"As a soccer player and soccer mom, I have a commitment to ensuring my family is financially protected, and a big part of this is making the right insurance choices. I’ve partnered with Guardian to help encourage employees to spend more time evaluating their workplace benefits this open enrollment season," said Hamm. "The benefit offerings available to employees change from year to year, so it’s important that they keep abreast of those changes and understand new plans as they become available. It’s also important for employees to make sure their protection needs keep up with life changes like marriage, a new baby or a new home."

"Mia is a true humanitarian and uses her celebrity to help others. As a new mom she understands first-hand the importance of having the right insurance protection and as an Olympic champion she clearly understands the importance of preparation," said Elena Wu, 2nd Vice President of Guardian Group Marketing and Worksite Planning. "Guardian is honored to work with someone who is a trailblazer in her field. She dedicates her life to not only sports, but also health and service through charitable efforts such as the Mia Hamm Foundation which provides support for marrow and blood transplant patients and their families."

Employee benefits provide affordable protection for millions of families, but often opportunities are missed due to inadequate preparation. Employees and their loved ones are often left under-insured and unnecessarily exposed to financial risk because they don’t take enough time to understand their workplace benefits.

Consider these statistics:
  • Forty-eight percent of employees don’t know that employer-paid disability income benefits are taxable. Employees can often buy affordable supplemental voluntary or individual coverage at work to compensate for the tax levy on their benefits. — Benefits and Behavior: Spotlight on Group Life and Disability Insurance (Guardian).
  • Many employees don't fully understand some of the basic health care alphabet such as FSA (flexible spending account), HSA (health savings account) and HRA (health reimbursement account). Just over half of employees are aware of flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts. And only four in ten are aware of health reimbursement accounts. — Benefits and Behavior: Spotlight on Group Medical (Guardian).
  • Seventy percent of the employees surveyed said they know the difference between group and individual life insurance coverage. Yet, almost half of these employees indicated that they believe a medical examination is generally required to purchase group life insurance. In fact, such a checkup is typically not required. — Benefits and Behavior: Spotlight on Group Life and Disability Insurance (Guardian).
  • The Life Foundation (Lifehappens.org) cites data from LIMRA International which reveals 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance at all and those with coverage have far less than most experts recommend to ensure a secure financial future for their families.
  • The Life Foundation launched Life Insurance Awareness Month in September. September also marks the beginning of the fall open-enrollment season, the time of year when you can select and upgrade benefits such as life, disability, critical illness, medical, vision and dental insurance. More information about life Insurance Awareness Month can be found at www.LifeHappens.org and www.GuardianItsMyLife.com.

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 mid-size 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 The Mia Hamm Foundation
The Mia Hamm Foundation is a non-profit, national organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for families in need of a marrow or cord blood transplant and the development of more opportunities for young women to participate in sport. More information about the foundation can be found at www.miafoundation.org.

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