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Reviewing your Group Income Protection

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

To make sure your insured benefits are working efficiently and delivering value for your business, and your people, the timing of a review is crucial. Conducting a review well in advance of the end of rate guarantee to ensure your scheme is delivering value for you and, importantly, your people.

 

What is Group Income Protection (GIP)? 

Providing an income to an employee when they are unable to work due to illness or injury is a valuable benefit to your people.

However, a GIP policy can provide much more than just income. It provides support, in the form of early intervention and rehabilitation services, which can help prevent a claim being made in the first place. It also gives employers access to a third party to assess the absent employee, removing those difficult conversations from the business. It can also help support that all important absence management programme.

 

Considerations when reviewing the design of your GIP scheme

Where it was once common that an employee may work for you for life, on average an employee now changes employers every five years. Therefore should the payment period you offer adjust as a result? 

Many companies continue to provide this benefit to pay a percentage of salary until state pension age, regardless of how old the employee is when they first become absent.

The government has also made significant changes to state disability benefits in recent years. Many schemes continue to operate state benefit offsets which should be reviewed in light of these changes. Employees may be unlikely to claim any benefits from the state. Moving to a flat rate benefit might be more appropriate. This will need some consideration as there may be an increase to your premium, however you could consider funding this by lowering the benefit percentage payable to take account of the removal of the offset.

 

What added value might you be missing out on?

GIP providers are increasingly offering added-value services. When you are reviewing your GIP scheme, it’s worth checking to see if your provider offers:

Absence management services

Increasingly, insurers focus on rehabilitation and more are offering early intervention services.

Early intervention services allow you to identify where an employee, who is still at work may be struggling with a health problem. This help in the early days, of illness or injury, can help to prevent workplace absence. 

By managing short-term issues, you can prevent them from becoming long-term health problems. This can also prevent performance and productivity from being impacted.

Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants are often provided which help the employee make a safe and sustainable return to work, and means the insurer is doing more than simply accepting new claims and reviewing on-going claims.  

Examples of the support that can be provided are:

  • Practical ideas to aid recovery
  • Acting as an arbitrator between the employee and employer
  • Highlighting potential barriers
  • Suggesting possible adjustments to the employee’s workplace
  • Creating a phased return to work plan

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs)

Many policies offer an EAP which includes expert advice, information and practical support on a range of issues, both work-related and personal. These may include health, financial matters, grief, relationships, and some legal advice. It may offer counselling and even cognitive behavioural therapy. The levels of counselling each EAP offers varies and so it is important to compare providers’ offerings, e.g. face to face or telephone support and numbers of sessions provided.

There is usually support for employers too, for example; advice for managers on mental health and managing cancer in the workplace. Some even offer free workshops on these topics.

Get your full review checklist in our latest guide 'Reviewing your Employee Benefits'

Author: Tasha Fry, Consultant