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Nearly one in five employers offer no health & wellbeing support to prevent ill health

Press release 2 August 2022.

Research revealed today by GRiD, the industry body for the group risk industry, shows that although many employers are embracing the benefits of offering employees preventative health and wellbeing support, there is still work to be done, with 18% of employers not offering any support for prevention.

GRiD asked employers what health and wellbeing support they offer their employees to prevent ill health:

Flexible working initiatives were the most popular option, offered by nearly a third (30%) of employers. Emotional support, such as counselling, came next, offered by a quarter of employers (25%). Then it was occupational health (20%), mental health first aiders (19%), access to an employee assistance programme (17%), initiatives to help staff manage stress and mental health, (16%), and discounted gym, cycle, fitness (16%). These were all followed by support for staff with caring responsibilities, lifestyle support, physiotherapy, and access to private medical insurance (PMI), all offered by 15% of employers.

However, no preventative measures at all are offered by 18% of employers.

Abundant support available

There is a wealth of support within health and wellbeing benefits that aims to help prevent ill health. Gone are the days when all that was offered was fast-track access for certain treatment if needed. Employers, and the health and wellbeing industry, now have a much greater understanding of the importance of prevention, but there is still a way to go before everyone embraces the options.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Preventative care is now a big part of health and wellbeing support. There are a great many options available to employers, including within group risk benefits (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness benefits) and it is really good to see so many employers utilising this. It can be incredibly time-intensive and costly for employers to source and offer each area of support individually, and we would encourage employers to look at just how much support is available within other benefits. It’s often a case of making the most of what you already have.”

Focus on mental health

The research shows an emphasis towards supporting mental health that has perhaps not been so prevalent in the past. Counselling, stress management, and mental health initiatives all rank highly in the support being offered by employers. This indicates an increased understanding of the impact mental health can have on employees’ overall wellbeing.

Katharine Moxham explains: “Employers generally now have a much better understanding of taking an all-encompassing approach to preventative care. And, indeed, of preventative care itself. It is far easier to support an employee to help prevent them from becoming unwell in the first place than having to help them get back on their feet after an illness.”

Wider support

Employee benefits, including group risk are about so much more than a pay-out if an employee cannot work, is critically ill, or dies. The additional support available can be of huge value to the employee and employer alike. At its best, providers, advisers and employers all work together to look at reasons for absence, and the specific needs of a workforce, so they can put in place preventative and early intervention measures. Support can include access to mental health specialists and physiotherapists, as well as advice on nutrition and lifestyle – all designed to prevent ill-health in the first place.

Differentiating employers

While many employers are on board with the benefits of preventative care there is still plenty of untapped resource. Offering wider health and wellbeing support helps to keep employees at work, it’s a great tool to manage absence, and it’s a key differentiator from competitors: and that’s a great support for recruiting and retaining talent.


The research was undertaken by Opinium during January 2022 among 501 HR decision-makers and 1,212 employees at UK businesses.

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 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, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Paul White (head of technical, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing) 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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