Group Risk At The Forefront Of Minds

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to much of the British workforce being furloughed, doing their jobs remotely and/or working reduced hours. In addition, it’s also caused many workers to really think about their health, their families’ health and their employer’s duty of care towards them. Now, more than ever, organisations must have their employees’ wellbeing at the forefront of their minds. One of the best ways to achieve this is with the right Group Risk products.

The impact of Covid-19 on the Group Risk market

Covid-19’s impact on the Group Risk market has been profound. According to Group Risk Development’s (Grid) Covid-19 Claims survey 2020, published in July 2020, Group Risk insurers have witnessed an increase in claims as a result of the pandemic. In fact, group life insurers paid £57 million across 475 claims for Covid-19 in the first six months of 2020.

Furthermore, Group Critical Illness providers are expecting claims to increase as a result of the pandemic. 

It’s well documented that Covid-19 can significantly impact people’s hearts and lungs, and this can lead to prolonged hospital stays for patients. With much of the NHS’s focus placed on treating Covid-19 patients, there’s a chance other conditions may get overlooked.

“Our biggest concern is that the pause on diagnosis and treatment will lead to more cancer claims over the next few years,” says Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer at Unum. “It’s already the biggest cause of claims on both group critical illness and group income protection.”

[Related reading: Employers Must Do More To Support Staff With Serious Illnesses]

Insurers are stepping up

As well as expecting and bracing themselves for an increase in claims over the next few years, insurers have also taken steps to support employees and employers throughout the pandemic. 

Insurers are now increasingly focussing on the value-add services they offer, with many rolling out offerings like virtual GP services, Employee Assistance Programmes and mental health support. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, many organisations took such value-add services for granted, overlooking them in favour of other offerings. Now, with the focus firmly on employee health and wellbeing, such services have really come into their own.

Indeed, usage statistics from insurers show how employees and employers are taking advantage of such services. For example, Unum says its Help@hand app was used to book 2,227 consultations between April and June 2020 -- an increase of more than 400% over the previous period. The insurer says it also saw bookings for mental health appointments increase by more than 100% a month during the first lockdown.

Virtual GP services, mental health support and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) can often be offered at no extra cost to employers through Group Risk products. Statistics show such services have witnessed increased usage throughout the pandemic and this trend is set to continue going forward.

Employers with the right Group Risk benefits in place will not only be in a great position to support their employers as the pandemic continues, but will also be seen as organisations that take their duty of care seriously.


Author: Matthew Bucknall - Group Risk and Protection Consultant