SHRM/MassMutual Survey: Employers Satisfied with Group Long-Term Disability Plans, But Gaps in Coverage May Leave Executives Underinsured

Sep 18, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — More than eight in 10 employers offer group long-term disability insurance to employees, and, while 83 percent of those employers feel the amount of base coverage is adequate, gaps still exist in the coverage for executives.

These are among the findings of the 2013 Employer Perspectives on Disability Benefits survey commissioned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Long-term disability insurance plans supplement a portion of an employee’s income over an extended period for a disabling condition.

“These results give HR professionals a better understanding of the gaps that exist between the needs created by long-term disability and insurance benefits. This data contributes to HR professionals’ knowledge and allows them to improve their employees’ awareness of what benefits provide,” said Alex Alonso, SHRM’s vice president of research.

A SHRM Online article about the research is available at

The survey of more than 4,000 human resource professionalsexplored benefits trends in companies of all sizes across a wide range of industries. More than one-half of respondents said their base long-term disability insurance benefits cover 51 percent to 60 percent of an employee’s base salary.

A majority of respondents (83 percent) said the maximum benefit amount they provide is adequate. But the survey uncovered shortfalls that may impact high-earning and executive employees:

  • Typical base group long-term disability plans (78 percent) do not cover variable compensation, such as bonuses and commissions, which is a compensation structure more commonly offered to high-ranking and C-suite executives. Only 21 percent of organizations indicated that they offer “buy-up” coverage.
  • Almost one-third of companies (29 percent) expressed concern that high-earners with income in excess of the plan limit are not adequately covered.
  • Only 19 percent of survey respondents indicated that they offer supplemental individual disability income insurance coverage.

For details, visit the research section of Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at, 703-535-6260 or 703-862-5192.

About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing about 260,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and the United Arab Emirates. Visit SHRM Online at and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect