Founded in 1998, Group Risk Development (GRiD) has spent the last 20+ years promoting the advantages of corporate group protection benefits to policymakers, the media and employers.
During an interview, spokesperson Katharine Moxham discussed how group risk protection policies operate and whether attitudes to group protection have changed since the Pandemic.
Employers often promise benefits to employees through the contract of employment including life insurance, long-term occupational sick pay (income protection), and critical illness benefits, collectively known as group risk protection benefits. Some employers will self-fund these benefits but many provide them through insured group risk policies that operate on a pooled risk basis.
This means that, generally, a generous basic level of cover is given to all members of a group risk policy without the need to provide medical evidence and regardless of their state of health. Group risk insurers look to capture medical details for only the top few earners within a business and, even then, it’s generally only done once and they’ll still get a generous level of basic cover regardless of the outcome of the underwriting on their cover above that.
Although group protection policies don’t require any medical evidence for the majority of employees, for those high earners who are underwritten, other factors such as attitude towards a long-term health condition are considered as well as the condition itself.
Katharine offered the example of a diabetic high earner. To demonstrate that they were managing their condition appropriately the insurer may ask them what their blood sugar level is, and check that they are managing this with the correct dosage of insulin.
Since medical evidence generally isn’t required for most employees, benefits are considerably more accessible for employees from all backgrounds, particularly those with undiagnosed neurodivergent conditions which may affect their day-to-day life.
Katharine felt it was important to bring up that for absent employees covered under a group income protection policy, the insurer will question “what’s preventing an employee from being able to do their job rather than purely focusing on the medical condition itself,” and will explore ways to support someone back to work. Thus group protection especially “isn’t just a commodity but a service that employers can use to mitigate absence.”
When discussing the transition from the Pandemic to the ‘new normal’ Katharine explained that “prior to COVID-19, few people considered their financial protection needs, thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’ or if it did they would somehow be okay, but now people are more aware and appreciative of their group risk protection benefits.” Katharine felt this was because the group risk industry paid out over £261m for COVID-19 deaths up to the end of 2021 and provided access to online health care during lockdown and beyond.
With extra benefits included such as fast-track access to counselling and physiotherapy, employee assistance programmes, access to a second medical opinion service, HR advice, vocational rehabilitation, health apps, and virtual GP services, group protection offers the support employees need during these unprecedented times.