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Employers need to do more to supplement state bereavement support

Press release 15 July 2019.

It’s been announced that the government intends to change the law by the end of this year to allow opposite-sex couples to form civil partnerships.* Currently, when someone is married or in a same-sex civil partnership and their spouse or civil partner dies, they may be entitled to state Bereavement Support Payment, and this will be extended to those in opposite-sex civil partnerships.

The maximum amount currently payable to a bereaved spouse or same-sex civil partner is a lump sum of £3,500 plus up to 18 monthly payments of £350. Given the average cost of a funeral in the UK is £3,757** and average earnings in the UK are £2,466 a month,*** any Bereavement Support Payment won’t go very far towards easing a family’s ongoing financial commitments. 

This provides a timely reminder for employers to review how they support their staff in such circumstances, especially since not all couples choose either marriage or a civil partnership and so won’t even be entitled to this payment if a partner dies.

With increasing onus of responsibility on employers to help support people at work, they are perfectly placed to help in such situations. Employers can provide staff with access to Group Life Assurance, either by funding it or simply giving employees the option to fund it themselves, for instance via a flexible benefits programme. Group Life Assurance pays out a lump sum when an employee dies, the employee chooses in advance who should receive the money, it’s free of inheritance tax, can be paid within a few days, and amounts offered are typically two, three or four times salary.

The facts****

  • The group risk industry paid out 10,027 death claims in 2018, valued at £1.117 billion.
  • The average claim was £114,691.
  • The main causes for claim were cancer (42%) and heart disease (15%).

Additional support

Many providers also offer bereavement support and help with probate in addition to the financial benefits. And this can provide an emotional lifeline at a time when people are most in need.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, the group risk industry body says: “It’s good news that more couples will be entitled to state bereavement support, but there’s so much more that employers can offer. When you compare the financial support that can be provided by the state to what can be provided by group life assurance policies, the difference is huge.

“Group life assurance is the original group risk product, and the financial and emotional support that it provides makes all the difference in the world to those that need it. Now is a good time for employers to review their employee benefit packages and make sure that group life assurance is on that list.”

  • Ends -





For further information please contact:

Sharon Mason 
SMUK Marketing and PR 
Mob: 07747 611773
Land: 01252 843350

Katharine Moxham
Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508

Notes for editors

About GRiD

Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk protection sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries who have a collective wealth of experience built over years of operating in the group risk protection market. Under the chairmanship of Steve Bridger (MD Group Protection, Corporate, Aviva UK Insurance) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.

GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry's standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.

GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees.

GRiD's dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues.

Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham


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