Health and wellbeing market update for employers

By Mark McLeod

News

Jun 18, 2019

Workplace health & wellbeing has been a key focus for UK employers in the first six months of 2019. This development looks set to continue with employers increasing their benefit expenditure to provide a broader range of wellbeing benefits and more comprehensive support for employees.

The market is developing with new products, providers and services emerging. To assist employers keep up to date with these trends in the Group Protection and Healthcare markets, Vested is producing a quarterly update for employers to support our ‘Pulse’ advisory service. To sign-up or if you would like us to cover any specific aspect in future issues, please inform your client manager or email us at employee.benefits@vesteddigital.co.uk.

Employers remain committed to providing workplace protection but are adapting their approach as legislation or the demographics of their workforce changes.  As insurers continually strive to enhance their market position, we have seen significant developments in no cost support services within their propositions.  We highlight below a number of topical aspects.

The growth in the UK Group Protection Market shows no sign of slowing down with the industry having paid out a new high of £1.68bn in claims in 2018, a £64.5m increase on 2017 (Source – GRID & 2018 Swiss Life Group Watch Report).

 

EXCEPTED GROUP LIFE

The pension lifetime allowance (£1,055,000 for 2019/20) is affecting more employees as they build up more substantial pension values and it’s not just the very high earners. Employers operating ‘registered’ group life schemes, where the death benefit is also part of the lifetime allowance calculation by HMRC need to consider whether an ‘excepted’ scheme is more appropriate for some staff to avoid unnecessary tax implications on death.

Insurers have experienced a 150% increase in the number of excepted schemes since 2013 (Source: Swiss Life Group Watch Report 2018).

 

BEREAVEMENT COUNSELLING AND PROBATE HELPLINE

To provide effective support to employees when a loved one dies is sometimes challenging to employers. Many employers are unaware that the company group life scheme may provide support services at no additional cost.

Bereavement Counselling
  • 24/7 unlimited access to a bereavement counselling helpline for employees
  • Structured telephone sessions, and potentially face to face sessions where necessary
  • Practical advice on areas such as self-help, charities and other support groups
  • Immediate family members can also access this support service
Probate/Confirmation Helpline
  • Confidential advice on all aspects of obtaining probate/ confirmation
  • Financial guidance and legal matters linked to the bereavement
  • Assistance with tax issues, the settlement of debts, family disputes, validity of wills, estate administration, gifts and legacies, power of attorney and more

 

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME (EAP)

An EAP is one of the most valuable support services that is normally provided as an additional services to client who insure their Group Income Protection scheme with the leading Group Protection Insurers.  As a minimum these normally cover:

  • Unlimited 24/7 access to telephone support
  • A number of face-to-face counselling sessions
  • Financial and legal advice from an independent consultant over the telephone
  • Guidance of a range of issues such as debt, buying your first home, tax and divorce.

Employers not providing Group Income Protection or wishing to provide a more bespoke EAP can source a standalone product.

 

SECOND MEDICAL OPINION SERVICE

Perhaps one of the most valuable but under-utilised support services is second medical opinion service.  In the event of a diagnosis of a severe condition, most people want clear, definitive answers. The services provides employees and their immediate family access to the best available medical advice in the world by:

  • Locating a world-leading expert on nearly any condition
  • Arranging a full review of the medical condition in question
  • Providing a full diagnosis, and comprehensive report with recommendations
  • Helps find the best doctor for the condition

Further details of our ‘Pulse’ Service can be found here: Vested 'Pulse' Service