The economy still may be stuck in neutral, but industry brokers, carriers and vendors are bullish about the future of voluntary benefits, which enable employers to offer a robust product suite at a minimal administrative cost associated with payroll deduction. One such barometer is Eastbridge Consulting Group’s latest Voluntary Industry Confidence Index, a semi-annual survey that gauges attitudes among market leaders.

The findings indicate that not only was confidence in this product line rising at the end of last year compared with the same time in 2009, but expectations for acquiring new business in 2011 also were higher. Another noteworthy result was that for the first time since the survey’s inception in December 2005, respondents who expected a positive impact on sales this year surpassed those who gave a negative forecast (47% versus 33%). The percentage of optimism had been about 30% since December 2008, representing a significant jump.

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