Avon, Conn. - Worksite carriers recorded another year of reserved growth in 2004, according to the sixth annual U.S. Worksite Study, conducted by marketing advisory firm Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc., Avon, Conn. New worksite sales in the U.S. totaled an estimated $4.223 billion, a 3% increase over 2003 results. Growth improved from the 1.8% increase realized in 2003 (based on revisions several companies made to their reported 2003 sales). [Note: As a result of these revisions, total sales for 2003 were revised downward to $4.1 billion.]

The study, which tracks both group (voluntary) and individual (worksite) carriers/products, includes detailed data on the performance of 60 worksite marketing carriers, according to Eastbridge vice president Bonnie Brazzell.

This is the second year in a row where the industry did not realize double-digit growth. "We don't believe this represents a fundamental change in industry trends," shares Eastbridge president Gil Lowerre. "We did some extensive analysis to determine if there has been an industry-wide shift or if the slower growth is concentrated in just a few companies. The results showed that 68 percent of companies registered sales increases and 51 percent of all companies had double-digit sales growth."

"In fact," adds Brazzell, "it appears that the slower overall growth is due to a handful of companies being 'off momentum' in their sales." The study identified six companies that had decreases of $5 million or more in premiums for a total decrease of $160 million in 2004. "Had these six companies sold the same amount of new premium in 2004 as they did in 2003, the industry growth rate would have been 6.9 percent," says Lowerre.

Source: Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc.

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