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Employer-sponsored Group Risk benefits pay record claims to employees during 2020

Press release 14 May 2021.

  • UK Group Risk industry pays record £2.01bn in claims to employees and dependants in 2020, equivalent to £5.5m a day
  • 4,476 employees helped back to work after a period of sick leave
  • Cancer: main cause of claim

Company-sponsored group risk benefits (life assurance, income protection and critical illness) provided by employers paid out a record £2.01bn to employees and their dependants in 2020, shows industry data compiled by Group Risk Development (GRiD).

This is an increase of £255.7 million over 2019. Thousands of UK employees and their families (28,733) were helped to avoid financial hardship during the worst of times for them: after the death, illness or disability of a loved one, because of the benefits put in place by their employer.

While employers widely understand that group risk products will provide financial support when needed, it is the additional embedded benefits that increase their value for many. Help and support from insurers, such as vocational rehabilitation, case management, mediation, fast access to counselling and physiotherapy and other interventions helped 4,476 employees back to work after a period of sick leave.

Interactions with other embedded services such as an Employee Assistance Programme, HR and line manager advice, online GP services, second medical opinion services and physical and mental health apps increased exponentially to a record number of 138,222 interactions (compared with 74,707 interactions during 2019). Where the type of support service interaction has been recorded, insurers have seen significant online and telephone usage (45% online, 42% telephone, 11% face to face.) The provision of remotely accessible support services has been invaluable in supporting people during the pandemic and periods of social distancing.

These embedded services are funded by the insurer, provided at no extra cost to the employer and can be accessed 24/7 regardless of whether a claim has been made.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: ‘The group risk industry is growing year on year and these figures demonstrate why. They’re some of the most valued benefits for employers and employees. Their value is tangible, financial and practical, and employers recognise just how much they help their business and their workforce.’

Total benefits paid

Group life assurance policies paid out total benefits to the value of £1.37 billion (an increase of £199.78 million over 2019); group income protection policies paid out a total of £550.86 million (an increase of £57.88 million compared with 2019); group critical illness policies paid out benefits totalling £91.64 million (a slight decrease of £1.96 million over 2019).

The average new claim amounts (£118,244 for group life; £28,138 p.a. for group income protection; £70,274 for group critical illness) evidence the fact that these benefits should not just be seen as perks for the higher paid but that they throw a vital financial lifeline to people regardless of their salary, age or position and they are often the only financial protection many employees will have.

To see the full release and tables download the document available here.

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