As if employee benefits needed any more reasons to be at the top of every employer’s agenda, the coronavirus pandemic has firmly underlined their importance once more.
Here we take a quick look at how three group risk products can be pivotal during a pandemic, providing reassurance, faster access to healthcare and direct financial support.
Sadly, people of all ages in the UK have lost their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including many individuals from the working age population.
According to figures from GRiD, the group life assurance industry paid out more than £56m in COVID-related death claims to more than 480 families from 1 January and 30 June 2020.
While no amount of financial assistance can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it can provide a crucial safety net at an extremely difficult time. At such an uncertain time and without group life assurance in place, many businesses would have struggled to provide financial compensation to a deceased employee’s loved ones, highlighting how valuable such protection can be.
Unfortunately, COVID-related deaths are only part of the situation. It is becoming increasingly evident that the outbreak is also causing many people to experience long-term symptoms as a result of being infected with COVID-19.
This has led to many people being unable to work, which could last for months or possibly even years. Indeed, the Long Covid website estimates that as many as a quarter of a million people in the UK have experienced effects of the virus for more than 28 days.
Now while group income protection policies may or may not cover COVID-related absence (it ultimately varies from provider to provider), it is still arguably the best safeguard if an employee is unable to work due to illness or injury.
With private medical insurance, employees can take advantage of private healthcare facilities. This can be extremely beneficial because while the health service we have is amazing and does a sterling job, NHS waiting lists are now at their highest level since records began. Exacerbated by the pandemic and likely to experience a surge once lockdown restrictions are eased, the sad reality is that NHS waiting lists aren’t going to drop significantly any time soon.
This situation could lead to employees with relatively minor conditions experiencing long waits for treatment, potentially extending the time they are away from work. Private medical insurance can help to alleviate such issues.
We’ve only touched on three group risk products: group life assurance (or death in service), group income protection and group private medical insurance. But the reality is there are lots of other group risk products out there that are designed to help both employees and employers during difficult times.
If you’d like to find out more about any group risk products, do get in touch and we’ll be happy to discuss.