Prudential Report Shows Employers, Benefits Budgets Hit Hard by Economy

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Employee benefit budgets are not immune to corporate cost cutting, according to a report released today by Prudential Financial, Inc.

Employee benefit budgets are not immune to corporate cost cutting, according to a report released today by Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU).
The Prudential study, A New Day in Employee Benefits found that less than half of plan sponsors say their benefits budgets increased from 2008, compared with increases reported by two-thirds of those surveyed the prior two years.

About one-third of companies are maintaining their 2008 budget levels, while another15% say their budgets have decreased by an average of 16 percent over last year, according to Lori High, president of Prudential's Group Insurance business.

"Employee benefits are especially crucial in uncertain times," High said. "Plan sponsors need to make the most of both the company's and the employee's premium dollars to ensure the benefits can be maintained."

A New Day in Employee Benefits provides insight from benefits plan participants, benefits plan sponsors, and benefits brokers and consultants. High said the findings can be used to help employees prepare for annual enrollment and to support employers business planning and strategy development. Additional trends shaping the employee benefits landscape include:

  •     Companies hurt by the economy are altering their expectations regarding benefits staffing levels. Those affected most by the recession are forecasting a downsizing of their benefits staff over the next five years.
  •     Cost cutting measures are impacting strategic initiatives such as improving employee education and advice.
  •     Using Internet technology to increase efficiency and control benefits costs will be

important objectives by 2014.

"The good news is that a majority of plan sponsors and brokers have a positive outlook for 2010," High said. "Both plan sponsors and brokers expect their companies to be doing better financially a year from now."

High said workers and group plan administrators are finding it difficult to navigate the myriad of benefit options and administrative details involved in selecting a group insurance plan. Prudential's suite of voluntary benefits promote employee choice and helps employers contain costs. To support benefits administrators faced with reduced staffing, Prudential provides robust administration, record-keeping and on-line enrollment tools, return to work strategies and support with issues relating to the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to High.

Prudential's A New Day in Employee Benefits report, the first in a series of five, stems from the company's broad Study of Employee Benefits: 2009 and Beyond report which was fielded via the Internet during April and May of 2009 and consists of three distinct surveys: one among benefits plan sponsors, one among benefits plan participants, and one among employee benefits brokers and consultants. The surveys were conducted for Prudential by the Center for Strategy Research, Inc., a Boston-based, independent, market research firm.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with approximately $580 billion of assets under management as of June 30, 2009, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth. The company's well-known Rock symbol is an icon of strength, stability, expertise and innovation that has stood the test of time. Prudential's businesses offer a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds, investment management, and real estate services. For more information, please visit

Group insurance benefits are issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Newark, NJ. Prudential and The Rock logo are registered service marks of The Prudential Insurance Company of America.


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Sheila Bridgeforth

Doris Singleton
Prudential Insurance, Inc.
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