Group risk policies, including income protection and critical illness, are for many employers seen as just for senior employees. This approach leaves many UK employees without the long-term protection they need when illness strikes.
Cancer is number one cause of claiming on a company-paid Group Risk policy* according to GRiD, the organisation set up to promote better understanding of protection insurances.
With around 1,000 people diagnosed with cancer every single day in the UK.** there has never been a greater need for employers to support their staff in ensuring that they have appropriate financial protection in place.
GRiD’s spokesperson, Katharine Moxham said “With the incidence of cancer so prevalent, employers are in the perfect position to take significant steps towards helping staff to protect themselves and their families financially, should the worst occur.”
Figures from the charity Working With Cancer, highlight the problem for employers. They confirm that there are over 600,000 people currently in employment and living with cancer*** but many others will have given up work as a result of their diagnosis.
Introducing group risk protection to a broader audience will offer an invaluable financial lifeline when employees and their dependants need it most, at diagnosis, during times of long-term illness and in the event of death.
Group risk policies give more than just financial help with Providers increasingly adding new levels of support and services to their policies (such as an Employee Assistance Programme, second medical opinion services and counselling) which can also significantly benefit employees who are living with cancer. Many insurers also actively support staff with wider illnesses helping to avert claims by managing employees back to work, therefore avoiding considerable disruption and saving money.
GRiD goes on to say “Organisations employing someone with cancer must tread a fine line in supporting the individual, helping them return to work when they are ready, and ensuring business as usual. Offering staff some level of financial support via Group Risk products isn’t entirely altruistic: the individual will no doubt have fewer monetary concerns, the extra support on offer may help reduce their absence period and the employer is able to demonstrate their moral obligations towards staff.”
ADVO supports GRiD in its stance to ensure that employers do not ring-fence Group Risk products solely for senior management, as there will often be a material impact on families and standards of living regardless of relative seniority in a company.
Katharine Moxham concluded by saying: “Losing a source of income impacts all families no matter whether the salary was fifteen or fifty thousand pounds. However, unlike maternity leave or a change of job, a cancer diagnosis is often entirely unexpected and so there is no opportunity to save up a nest egg or war chest in advance. Organisations that recognise this and have no hierarchy amongst staff for group risk benefits will develop a reputation as a decent employer and potentially improve recruitment and retention rates too.”
*GRiD Claims Data Survey 2016
**According to predictions made by Macmillan: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/images/getinvolved/campaigns/generalelection2015/generalelection-infographic.jpg