Group risk, the suite of employer-sponsored insurance products designed to offer employees financial protection, is often considered an employee benefits staple but rarely exciting or ground-breaking, and commonly associated with large, unfortunate life events.
However, many group risk products have superb in-built support services which can be massively beneficial to both staff and managers – if they know where to look and how to access them.
Here, GRiD highlights some of the lesser-known ways that group risk products support staff and employers:
Instant relief from financial distress in a crisis
Group life insurance can be paid quickly and is free from inheritance tax and probate. As such, it gives instant relief from financial distress to loved ones and removes any concerns about how to pay immediate costs such as for a funeral or household bills.
Advice and support for HR Managers
Group risk policies commonly come with an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and other supportive services. These not only help staff (with preventative support, stress management, second medical opinion, etc.) but can give line managers and business owners help with HR and employment law advice, telephone support for difficult situations, mediation, case and absence management.
Advice and support for employees
EAPs can give helpful advice on things like moving house, coping with flooding and supporting a healthy lifestyle via factsheets, online and telephone advice.
Protection for pension contributions
Group income protection can include cover for continued pension contributions so an individual not only continues to receive salary whilst off sick, but can also keep accruing pension.
Free cover for children and access to cover for partners
Group critical illness policies often include cover for children for free and can also give access to cover for spouses and partners.
Death benefits even if the employee is off sick
Group life insurance can be continued for those who are off sick for any length of time so a death benefit can still be paid if they die during their absence.
Helping employers make reasonable adjustments
Group income protection helps employers meet their obligations under the Equality Act by helping them to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled employees as required under the Act. This might involve drawing up a phased return-to-work plan, negotiating a move to an alternative role, facilitating access to fast-track counselling or physio, help and advice on modifications to equipment – all sorts of things can come into play here and group risk rehabilitation specialists are an invaluable resource for employers to draw on.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said:
“Our research shows that only half of employers actually know about the extent of services available to them through group risk benefits and, therefore, it follows that an even smaller number of employees will. However, both parties can benefit hugely if they take the time to find out. This doesn’t just mean reading the small print, but talking to their adviser and provider to get the most out of their benefits.
“Whilst group risk will of course always be there to provide financial support in the event of death, serious illness or a long-term inability to work, insurers are continually reshaping the product to provide for employees’ and employers’ ever changing needs.”