Group Risk Market Witnesses Strong Growth Despite Covid Pandemic

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, new research reveals the Group Risk market continued to grow during 2020, highlighting the importance many organisations place on group risk cover.

According to Swiss Re’s latest Group Watch Report, the total number of in-force Group Risk policies increased by 3.6%, compared to 2019. This wide-ranging annual report also showed the number of people covered by Group Risk insurance rose by 1.1% (an additional 150,000 individuals), to more than 13 million by the end of 2020.

Growth seen across all main Group Risk products

The Swiss Re report further found there was growth across all the main Group Risk product areas. In-force Death in Service policies increased by 4.1%; long-term disability income policies (Group Income Protection) increased by 0.9%; and Group Critical Illness policies increased by 7.5%.

Moreover, the insured benefit of each increased by 3.4% for Death in Service, 6.4% for Group Income Protection and 5.3% for Group Critical illness.

Group Risk products now supporting more employees than ever

Ron Wheatcroft, Technical Manager, L&H UKI, at Swiss Re and one of the joint-authors of the latest Group Watch report, said: “In a challenging year for the global economy, the group risk market proved remarkably resilient... Faced at first with widespread uncertainty and forced to adapt to a very different business environment, it responded with agility and was able to support even more employers, trustees and members than it did beforehand. To have achieved such growth in the context is no small feat.”

The average number of members per Group Income Protection policy increased in 2020 by 6.2%, from 146 in 2019 to 155 last year. This represents the largest annual increase in the last five years. Furthermore, over 90% of such policies in force cover SMEs (businesses with 250 members or fewer), a positive indication of the Group Income Protection’s span.

Employers place value on Group Risk Cover

Speaking about the report, industry trade body Group Risk Development (Grid) spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, said: “The fact that the market has seen growth over this extraordinarily difficult period underlines the value that employers are placing on being able to support their workforce via group risk benefits.

She added that Group Risk Cover not only provides financial support, but also emotional and practical help when needed.

In addition to the data relating to Group Risk products, the Swiss Re report also contains opinions and findings of product providers and employee benefit consultants. Swiss Re uncovered a significant increase in the usage of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and virtual GP services, highlighting how providers have shifted their focus to offer digitally-enabled services to support employees during the pandemic.

Swiss Re called on the government to remove some of the tax complexities often associated with Group Risk Cover to encourage employers to provide for their workforce in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Next Steps?

Does your organisation currently offer group risk cover as part of your employee benefits package? If the answer is “no”, have a chat with us today and see just how many benefits doing so can afford you and your employees.

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Author: Matthew Bucknall - Group Risk and Protection Consultant