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Health Insurance & Protection - Viewpoint: COVID-19 – Group risk protection benefits come into their own

By Katharine Moxham 22 April 2020.

The sector is ready to weather the storm - and help employers do the same too.

These are indeed challenging times for all of us, given the current Covid-19 pandemic. Whatever our role – parent, carer, partner, employee, employer, adviser, policymaker – everyday life and work has changed exponentially.

Employers are wading through a massive amount of change trying to keep their business going and their staff employed. Many will have faced huge technical challenges transitioning their people to home-working and many will be retaining people in new ways, such as with reduced hours or on furloughed pay. Some are even rising to a greater challenge and using their skills and resources to adapt, for instance manufacturing a completely new product line such as hand sanitiser or PPE in order to support the NHS supply chain. It’s no wonder the benefits package may be way down the list of considerations for them right now.

But that’s exactly where much help and comfort can be found: where employers can find help for themselves, their line managers and their people, plus financial support for employees and their families if the worst happens.

Group risk benefits (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness) are designed to provide financial support for staff at the most awful times: when they’re absent through ill-health, when they’re diagnosed with a critical illness or for their dependants if they die. The value of these benefits can often be overlooked during normal times but many employers are scrutinising these schemes at the moment to understand how to utilise them to support their staff, to understand how their insurance is affected by Covid-19, and some are even looking at introducing them for the first time.

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