Cigna Survey Shows Most Link Work and Well-Being; Value Disability Insurance That Protects Income
PHILADELPHIA, March 26, 2009 - Would you quit your job if you won the lottery? With the U.S. economy ailing and companies laying off millions of Americans who are anxiously searching for employment, a new Cigna survey shows that for the majority of Americans, work means a lot more to them than a paycheck to cover the bills.
Work is an essential part of most people’s sense of self-worth and emotional well-being. In fact, one in five Americans say they love their jobs and would continue to work even if they won the lottery. And nearly all Americans say they find value in disability insurance that would protect their income if they couldn’t work if they were ill or injured.
The survey, conducted for Cigna (NYSE:CI) by Yankelovich,1 as part of its “Health and Well-being in America” series of surveys, explored attitudes toward work and disability insurance and the effect of the economy on the work environment. Key findings include:
Living to Work or Working to Live
When asked how they view their job, 65 percent gave responses that were categorized as “Live to Work.” Thirty-one percent said they like their job and get a sense of satisfaction from going to work each day, 21 percent said they love their job and would continue working even if they won the lottery, and 13 percent said their work gives their life structure and purpose. Gender played a role in the responses, with more women than men reporting that they “live to work” (71 percent vs. 59 percent). Women enjoy the social aspect of work more than men, saying in greater numbers they like their co-workers or they meet interesting people at work, while more men than women say they’re proud of their work.
In contrast, 35 percent offered responses that were categorized as “Work to Live,” saying that they work just for the paycheck or insurance benefits, feel stuck due to the economy, or want to retire but can’t afford to. Gender again played a role, with more men than women saying they “work to live” (40 percent vs. 28 percent).
When asked why they “live to work,” people’s most common responses were they like their co-workers, feel a sense of accomplishment from their job, are proud of their work, or feel their work makes a difference. Only small numbers cited economic reasons: seven percent cited providing for their family, and just three percent cited their pay.
Protecting Emotional and Financial Security
Nevertheless, the survey shows that people would feel economically vulnerable if they were out of work due to illness or injury. Sixty-two percent said their top worry would be their inability to pay the mortgage or household bills during a lengthy absence. Underscoring that worry, nearly all surveyed -- 94 percent -- said that having disability insurance would be valuable.
Of those surveyed, 17 percent said they had been out of work for an extended period due to illness or injury at some point in their career, and most of them (58 percent) said they had negative feelings about the experience. They felt worried, afraid, anxious, depressed or unproductive. Others said they felt guilty because their absence was a burden to others, or they felt vulnerable or isolated. However, 20 percent said they were glad to have the time off to get better.
“These survey results point to the central role that work plays in people’s lives and how much it contributes to their sense of well-being,” said Beth Chiappetta, director of return-to-work program operations at Cigna. “Programs that help people get back to work as soon as it is safe to do so not only help restore financial health, they also provide an important emotional boost.”
Through its vocational rehabilitation services and return-to-work programs, Cigna enables people covered by long-term disability insurance to access a nationwide network of vocational rehabilitation specialists who work with disabled employees to establish return-to-work goals and evaluate modified or alternative work options.
“Having disability insurance gave me the financial security and peace of mind I needed so I could concentrate on getting well and back on track,” said Mark Evans, an industrial engineering manager in Texas who sustained serious injuries in a motorcycle accident in 2007. “Without that financial safety net and the return-to-work resources I could access through Cigna, my recovery would have been much more stressful. The accident changed my life completely, but getting back to work, doing what I love to do, helped me regain a sense of normalcy.”
Coping with the Economy
The disability survey also shows that the economic downturn is affecting the atmosphere at work, with 60 percent saying the overall mood in the workplace has changed in the past six months. Among those, 34 percent said people are afraid they might lose their job or that the economy has affected people’s moods, and 30 percent cited more pressure or stress on the job.
“The good news for U.S. employers is that most people say they enjoy their work and derive satisfaction from it,” said Jodi Prohofsky, Ph.D., a licensed therapist and senior vice president of health solutions operations at Cigna. “On the other hand, the economy is causing more stress and anxiety among workers, and we know that stress can often contribute to or lead to disabling illnesses, so it’s important for employers to help their employees manage stress and anxiety before that happens.”
Disability takes a big toll and presents substantial financial risks in America. According to the National Safety Council, a disabling injury occurs every second.2 Three out of 10 workers entering the work force today will become disabled before retiring,3 and an illness or accident will keep 1 in 5 workers out of work for at least a year before the age of 65.4 The Social Security Administration says that 70 percent of private sector workers have no long-term disability insurance,5 and a national survey shows only 40 percent of American adults have set aside emergency savings.6
According to Prohofsky, one of the most effective ways an employer can help employees manage stress and anxiety is by offering an employee assistance program to help employees cope with emotional, financial and legal issues and help them maintain a healthy work/life balance. She also noted that an employee assistance program can help “layoff survivors” cope with survivor’s guilt and feeling overwhelmed by increased workloads or new job responsibilities.
Resources for More Information
About the Survey
The survey on disability insurance, conducted by Yankelovich, a part of The Futures Company, consisted of telephone interviews with 742 full-time employed Americans 18 years of age or older. These interviews took place Jan. 29 – Feb. 2, 2009. Data are weighted by age, gender, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the population. The sampling error for this study is +/- 3.6 percent.
Cigna (NYSE:CI), a global health service company, is dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and security. Cigna Corporation's operating subsidiaries provide an integrated suite of medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, as well as group life, accident and disability insurance, to approximately 47 million people throughout the United States and around the world. To learn more about Cigna, visit www.cigna.com. To sign up for email alerts or an RSS feed of company news, log on to http://newsroom.cigna.com/section_display.cfm?section_id=18.
|1 “Understanding Views of Disability Insurance Plans,” prepared for Cigna by Yankelovich, a part of The Futures Company, February 2009.|
|2 National Safety Council, Injury Facts, 2008 edition.|
|3 Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet, January 31, 2007.|
|4 Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, November 2005.|
|5 Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet, January 31, 2007.|
|6 National survey for the Consumer Federation of America, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, February 2007.|