One in Five Working Americans Fail Employee Benefits IQ Quiz, According to Guardian Study

Many employees overestimate understanding of benefits; Less than half
believe their employer is doing a good job educating them about benefits

Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), one of the
nation’s largest mutual life insurers and a leading provider of employee
benefits, today released Closing
The Gap
, the second set of findings from the fourth
annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study SM that addresses
the low employee benefits IQ of working Americans and suggests how their
lack of knowledge may impair financial wellness.

While 80 percent of working Americans believe they understand their
benefits very well, only 49 percent demonstrate they actually do.
Responding to a 10-question quiz on benefits coverage and terminology,
individuals averaged a score of 72 (letter grade ‘C’).

While one in five working Americans received an “F” grade:

  • One in ten early boomers received an “F” grade.
  • One in four millennials received an “F” grade.
  • One in four employees admits making benefit selections is more of a
    guessing game than an educated decision.

The results of the quiz revealed that employees are better informed
about medical insurance compared to other supplemental health benefits,
such as critical illness (57 percent did not realize that the benefit
payment can be applied to a wide range of out-of-pocket costs
) along
with disability insurance (46 percent did not understand that an
elimination period is the time from when their claim is approved until
they begin receiving disability income payments
). Many workers also
encounter problems with commonly used insurance terms such as guaranteed
and portability.

This raises questions about how well employees understand what they are
signing up for during the benefits selection process. Only 47 percent of
working Americans feel their employer is doing a good job educating them
about how to use their benefits — a significant drop from 66 percent in

“Today, working Americans want greater access to insurance benefits via
the workplace. But more choice requires more effective benefits
communication and decision-support tools that meet the needs of
increasingly diverse groups,” said Dave Mahder, Vice President and Chief
Marketing Officer of Group and Worksite Markets. “It is critical for all
employees, and notably millennials, to fully grasp how benefits like
medical, supplemental health and disability insurance can work together
to provide the financial protection they need. An effective benefits
enrollment experience adds significant value for working Americans, as
well as their employers.”

Closing the Gap revealed that working Americans are looking for a
much improved experience this benefits enrollment season – one that

  • Clearer, consumer-friendly language;
  • More personalized recommendations and tailored messaging;
  • Expert guidance to answer questions and validate choices;
  • Online tools/interactive media to support learning and decision-making.

For more information about Guardian’s Workplace Benefits or to obtain a
copy of Closing the Gap from The Guardian Workplace Benefits
SM: Fourth Annual 2016, please

For more information on how employees can optimize their workplace
benefits coverage, please visit Guardian’s online education resources on GuardianAnytime.

About the Survey

The 4th Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits Study was fielded
in the spring of 2016 and consisted of two online surveys: one among
1,204 benefits decision-makers (employers) and another among 1,700
working Americans (employees), allowing us to examine benefits issues
from both perspectives.

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 3,000 financial
representatives in more than 70 agencies nationwide. You can follow
Guardian on Facebook:,
Twitter: @GuardianLife 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.


The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
Ana Sandoval,
Communications Partners
Erin Burke, 631-239-6903