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22 Jun 2022

Why group risk benefits are becoming the poster boy of benefits strategy

With access to healthcare hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, employees are placing greater value on benefits that supplement NHS services

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The focus within the employee benefits market has changed drastically over the past two years. The emphasis for many employers pre-pandemic was on more traditional benefits, often primarily put in place to meet contractual obligations.

Now, as Covid-19 transitions from pandemic to endemic, the importance of employee wellbeing is in sharper focus. The health and wellbeing of employees is considered a key driver for productivity within most organisations. The pandemic has had a lasting effect on the mental, physical and even financial wellbeing of employees and, in turn, employers have had to establish a responsive and individualised approach to their workplace policy and employee wellbeing strategy.

How to hang on to talent

Although for many organisations remote working was a temporary arrangement in the face of the pandemic, many employers are now embracing flexibility through remote or hybrid working. Workplace culture is under a magnifying glass, as understanding continues to grow of factors such as flexibility, employee benefits and diversity, equity and inclusion or environmental, social, and governance. This has led to an economic trend sometimes referred to as the ‘Great Resignation’.

Employees have a heightened awareness of the types of cover they can expect, and what it means for their lifestyle, wellbeing, and the wellbeing of their family. All of this means that employee benefits play a much greater role in recruitment and retention of talent than ever before.

Group risk and the link to employee wellbeing

As healthcare services have been severely hit throughout the pandemic, access to early prevention services and treatment has been significantly reduced, meaning a higher mortality rate and a poorer quality of health more generally. Employees are placing a higher value on employee benefits such as group risk, which support them or their family during difficult times, but also help to supplement NHS services.

As the demand for these benefits has increased, so too has the volume of prevention and wellbeing support included alongside group risk policies. These add-on benefits are highly valued by employees as they provide choice and support their lifestyle, while enabling them to live better and learn to take care of their own wellbeing.

From a financial perspective, the range of value add services alongside a group risk policy can be used to reduce the costs associated with employees taking sick leave, by sufficiently supporting them with their health before the point of making a large insurance claim.

As the UK faces a turbulent economic period, employers will be looking to cut costs where possible. However, rather than removing group risk policies, these additional services can boost the productivity of their workforce, reduce absences and help to retain employees by providing them with the choice and support that they could otherwise seek elsewhere.

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