GRiD reveals £2.49bn was paid in group risk claims in 2023

According to industry data compiled by Group Risk Development (GRiD), £2.49bn was paid to group risk claimants via employer-funded Life Assurance, Income Protection (IP), and Critical Illness (CI) in 2023.

Related topics:  GRiD,  group risk
Tabitha Lambie | Editor, Protection Reporter
23rd May 2024
Group Risk
"Group Risk delivers value, relieving pressure on the NHS, and helping prevent long-term sickness."
- Paula Coffey, Director of Claims & Rehab at Unum UK

In 2023, the group risk market paid £2.49bn in claims – this is £278.4mn higher than in 2022. Group Life Assurance saw the highest number of claims, totalling £1.69bn (12,324) – this was £160.9mn higher than in 2022. Group Income Protection (GIP) paid out £633.6mn (17,634) – compared to £547.9mn in 2022 – and Group Critical Illness (GCI) paid a total of £160.3mn (2,062).

A recent cancer diagnosis was the leading cause of claims across all three products in 2023. Notably, only 0.5% of Group Life Assurance policies paid out for a COVID-19 death.

Benefit Main cause of new claims Percentage (%) Second main cause of new claims  Percentage (%)
Group Life Assurance  Cancer  39 Ischaemic Heart Disease 15
Group Income Protection Cancer 24 Mental Illness 21
Group Critical Illness  Cancer 68 Heart Attack 9

The average new claim amounts were £137,448 for Group Life, £27,206 p.a. for GIP and £77,743 for GCI. Group Risk Development (GRiD) believes these amounts demonstrate that group benefits aren’t “perks for the higher paid but throw a vital financial lifeline to people of every salary, age, and position.”

In addition to financial aid, one of the most valued components of group risk is the added-value services provided to help employees stay in or return to work. In 2023, 50.5% of employees who experienced a prolonged sick leave returned to work by the end of the year after receiving support. This may have been fast-tracking access to counselling or physiotherapy, access to specialists in serious illness, vocational rehabilitation, or mediation.

Overall, 6,299 employees were helped back to work by the end of 2023. 4,691 employees were able to go back to work before a claim was made due to interventions provided by the insurer, 1,608 employees went on to claim on a GIP policy but returned to work by the end of the year, 7,305 interventions were made within six months of an employee’s first absence, and over 8k people were helped by interventions made by their insurer during 2023.

Employees had over 440,000 interactions with the added-value services provided by group risk insurers, demonstrating that this embedded support is highly valued daily.

“The record number of long-term sick is an issue for the UK, and these figures show how group risk contributes to a solution: employers who offer group risk benefits to their workforce have real and practical help in keeping their employees at work and helping those who are absent to return,” said Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD.

Katharine said: “It’s no secret that financial resilience in the UK is poor and the health serious illness or long-term incapacity of a breadwinner can have a devasting effect on a household’s finances, often tipping people into poverty.”

“In real terms, state provision for the sick and disabled has been becoming harder to get and dwindling for some time; it’s not enough to live on, and those who have to rely on it are the ones who can least afford to. Some employers boost the payments by self-funding, which is expensive. Those employers who make use of group benefits have the most affordable way of supporting staff and their families when the worst happens,” she added.

Responding to these figures, Paula Coffey, Director of Claims & Rehab at Unum UK, said: “We’re pleased to see GRiD once again highlighting the importance of group protection products and the huge amount of support they have provided to employees to enable them to stay in or return to work.” She believes GIP rehabilitation & claims teams contribute a huge amount to the health, happiness, and productivity of their customers’ workforce every day.

“GRiD also highlighted the value of embedded support group risk products provided via their value-added services. Wellbeing and preventative services with GIP, such as physiotherapy, mental health and fitness and nutrition, consultations can help tackle some of the major causes of absence before the illness or injury requires time off from work,” Paula concluded.



More like this
Latest from Financial Reporter
Latest from Property Reporter
to our newsletter

Join a community of over 30,000 intermediaries and keep up-to-date with industry news and upcoming events via our newsletter.