The Covid-19 pandemic has made most workers consider their financial situation and security, as well as emphasised the importance of Group Risk employee benefits. In fact, Group Risk products have never been so highly valued (by both employers and employees).
While the ongoing vaccine rollout is nothing short of amazing, and provides some hope on the horizon, even after the pandemic has finally come to an end, employee attitudes towards financial security, Group Risk employee benefits and general wellbeing will have changed forever.
Having experienced a year (and counting) of disruption, people will no longer be thinking ‘what if’ and instead be fully aware of how quickly life situations can change.
[Related reading: Group Risk At The Forefront Of Minds]
Traditionally, it has been difficult to hit home the advantage of Group Risk employee benefits, especially among businesses that do not offer protection such as Group Income Protection, Group Critical Illness and Death in Service.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised to employers and employees the true value of Group Risk employee benefits, both in terms of the core insurance components and the value-add health and wellbeing services.
Indeed, Death in Service cover made the headlines when Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was introducing £60,000 of life insurance for NHS workers, many of whom were no longer covered by such a benefit after opting out of the NHS pension scheme.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak talked about a state-sponsored income protection scheme when he extended the furlough scheme and expanded parallel support for the self-employed.
Life Insurance, Income Protection and other Group Risk employee benefits have never received such high profile publicity, testament to their incredible importance and vital role in safeguarding employee finances.
Let’s also not forget one of the key realities highlighted by the furlough scheme, that ordinarily state support falls woefully short if an employee finds him or herself unable to work for a prolonged period. The fact that the government has been covering 80% of an employee’s salary for the hours they can't work, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month, underlines this reality.
Despite this fantastic publicity, figures reveal that there’s still scope for improvement when it comes to ensuring enough employees have suitable cover. Figures from Swiss Re show that 9.9m people are currently covered by group life assurance policies; 2.6m under Group Income Protection policies and 610,045 under Group Critical Illness policies.
But when you consider that Office for National Statistics show there are approximately 28m employees in the UK, there is clearly a large proportion of the workforce that isn’t suitably covered.
Nevertheless, the pandemic and the risks it has highlighted have led to a surge in enquiries relating to Group Risk employee benefits — especially from SMEs, which are less likely to have such cover in place. This alone is promising and hopefully these enquiries will lead to more employees getting the coverage they both need and deserve.
What Group Risk employee benefits are you currently offering? Are they working hard in both your and your employees’ best interests? If you’re not sure, get in touch to discuss what your options are.