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Press release from Business Wire

U.S. Workforce Unprepared for New Reality of Workplace Benefits, Survey on Long-Term Disability Reveals

Monday, May 14, 2012

U.S. Workforce Unprepared for New Reality of Workplace Benefits, Survey on Long-Term Disability Reveals09:47 EDT Monday, May 14, 2012 WELLESLEY, Mass. (Business Wire) -- Although medical problems contribute to roughly half of all personal bankruptcies and home foreclosures in the United States, many of the nation's full-time workers have insufficiently planned for the risk of long-term disability, concludes a study released today by the U.S. business group of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE:SLF, TSX:SLF).1 The report (“Will workers in America hope to dodge the bullet, remain blind to the risks, or simply hide? Perceptions, misconceptions, and best practices about long-term disability”) stems from a survey of over 2,000 workers across the United States conducted for Sun Life Financial by Kelton Research. The survey results suggest that a significant proportion of the American workforce remains unprepared for the current shift in workplace benefits, as more employers give workers the responsibility to decide whether to purchase group benefits such as disability, life, vision, and dental insurance. “We must educate the U.S. workforce to understand the financial risks of long-term disability and learn best practices to mitigate their risks,” said Robert E. Klein, Jr., Vice President of Voluntary Benefits. “If ten couples gather for a barbecue, we estimate that roughly three of them will have a partner who experiences a disability lasting one year or longer during their professional lifetimes.” Key findings At least one-third (33%) of surveyed full-time workers lack long-term disability insurance. Over one-third (38%) of workers whose employers offered them the option to pay for group long-term disability insurance declined to buy it, leaving most uninsured. Workers who don't buy group voluntary long-term disability coverage fall into three categories: The Gambler doesn't think the risk justifies the cost of premiums. TheMole hasn't considered the issue and so remains blind to solutions. The Ostrich finds the thought of disability too unpleasant to face. Workers under age fifty, minorities, men, and tech workers are more likely to have purchased long-term disability insurance than other respondents. Many workers don't understand key features of long term disability insurance, and fail to anticipate how a disability may raise monthly living expenses. “Because employers are footing less and less of the overall group insurance bill, workers in our country must take proactive steps to mitigate the financial risk of long-term disability,” said Michael E. Shunney, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Sun Life Financial's U.S. Employee Benefits Group Division. “As our survey shows, people don't always think logically when they contemplate their risks. By encouraging workers to learn how to protect themselves and their families against income loss from long-term disability, we hope this survey helps the American workforce plan for more than a lifetime of financial security.” About Sun Life Financial Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Chartered in 1865, Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including group and voluntary life, disability, dental and stop-loss insurance products. These products are issued by Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in all states except New York. In New York, these products my re-sendare issued by Sun Life Insurance and Annuity Company of New York. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, visit www.sunlife.com/us. SLPC 24144 appvd: 5/12, exp 5/14 ________________________________1. Personal bankruptcies: Medical problems contributed to 62% of all personal bankruptcies filed in the United States in 2007, according to “Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study,” The American Journal of Medicine, 6/4, 2009. Home foreclosures: Medical problems contributed to half of all home foreclosure filings in 2006, according to, “Get Sick, Get Out: The Medical Causes of Home Mortgage Foreclosures,” Health Matrix, Journal of Law-Medicine, Aug., 2008. Sun Life FinancialTim Stone, 781-366-5376tim.stone@sunlife.com