Cities could together save nearly $1 billion on benefits costs

City governments could save almost a billion dollars on their benefits costs thanks to a new partnership between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Colonial Life

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Feb. 14, 2012) — City governments — and the taxpayers that support them — could save almost a billion dollars on their benefits costs indicated by census data, thanks to a new partnership announced today between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company.

The partnership brings together mayors and other key leaders in cities of population 30,000 or more with specially trained Colonial Life benefits counselors to offer and help implement a cost-containment insurance benefits program centered around value-added services and supplemental insurance benefits. The program focuses on effective cost-saving strategies while preserving the value of employees’ benefits.

“That’s the beauty of this program,” said Tom Cochran, chief executive officer and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We’re focusing on cost-saving measures that could have a significant impact on the bottom line while minimizing the impact on employees. Mayors and their cities need a strong benefits program to obtain and retain the best employees. The solutions Colonial Life brings our members can help them continue to offer a stable benefits package in a more financially sustainable way.”

Cities and their communities could see significant funds funneled back into underfunded programs. City governments nationwide collectively spend an estimated $30 billion a year on employee health benefits.1 A recent survey of government financial officers showed more than half saved at least 6 percent on their benefits during a two-year period by implementing cost-control strategies, and 40 percent saved more than 10 percent during that time period. 2 Even a modest 3 percent annual savings on benefits costs would represent $900 million that could be redirected to prevent reductions in staffing and service levels.

“In today’s economy, most people recognize changes in benefits programs are inevitable,” said Pat McCullough, assistant vice president and public sector practice leader for Colonial Life. “But many city governments aren’t taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. They’re more likely to be able to continue offering high-quality benefits if they find ways to make them more cost-effective.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors selected Colonial Life for this partnership based on its long experience, proven track record of success in providing employee benefits in the public sector, and full-spectrum approach to cost containment through value-added services. The partnership is being rolled out nationwide beginning this month. For more information, contact Kathryn Kretschmer-Weyland with the U.S. Conference of Mayors at 301.460.5251 or kweyland@usmayors.org, or McCullough at 803.678.6980 or pmccullough@coloniallife.com.

About the U.S. Conference of Mayors

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,210 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the U.S. Conference of Mayors are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. For more information, visit www.usmayors.org. Find us at usmayors.org, on facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

About Colonial Life

Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company is a market leader in providing financial protection benefits through the workplace, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. The company’s benefit services and education, innovative enrollment technology and personal service support more than 80,000 businesses and organizations, representing more than 3 million of America’s workers and their families. For more information visit www.coloniallife.com or connect with the company at www.facebook.com/coloniallifebenefits, www.twitter.com/coloniallife and www.linkedin.com/company/colonial-life.