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Strong benefits packages out of reach of small biz owners

What comes as no surprise to small business owners has been confirmed in a survey conducted by Aflac: U.S. small businesses are finding it more difficult today than a year ago to offer strong benefits packages to their employees.

The study revealed that companies that experienced a decline in revenue over the past year are particularly pressured to reduce insurance costs, cut back on employee benefits, and slash employee wages. Sixty-nine percent of companies with reduced revenues are finding it more challenging to offer strong benefits packages, compared with companies whose revenues stayed the same (56%). Nearly half of decision-makers (43%) say they are more likely to cut back on employee benefits, with 65% admitting they are more aggressively looking for ways to reduce insurance costs.

The survey showed little difference in levels of concern based on the number of employees and company revenues. Among the few differences: Seventy-one percent of small businesses with staffs of 50 to 99 employees reported that they are more aggressively looking for ways to reduce insurance costs, while that number fell to 56 percent for companies with 10 or fewer employees.

Almost half of decision-makers (43%) report they are more interested in voluntary and supplemental insurance benefits today than a year ago.

The Aflac small business survey was conducted by Accelerant Research among a sample of 512 decision-makers at U.S. small businesses with 5 to 99 employees and annual revenues of at least $100,000 via an online survey between the dates March 9 and 12, 2009.

Source: Aflac,

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