Poor protection communication ‘self-defeating’

Poor protection communication ‘self-defeating’

Employees are in the dark over the protection benefits available to them in the workplace, the head of an insurance body has warned.

Katharine Moxham, spokeswoman for Group Risk Development, said employers’ poor communication of protection benefits could be self-defeating, as staff are unaware of what their group risk policies could do for them.

“When staff need practical support - if diagnosed with a critical illness, or are unable to work through ill-health or injury, for example - then these benefits come into their own,” she stated.

“It is imperative employers understand how best to use group risk benefits and the supporting services which come along with these.”

Her warning came as research carried out by Grid among employers found only 16 per cent made a point of issuing regular communications on their benefits package.

Although 30 per cent did detail group risk protection benefits in their employee benefit statements, and 38 per cent laid out the benefits clearly in staff handbooks or on the intranet, only 21 per cent saw it as an important ‘selling point’ during interviews.

Ms Moxham warned this could be to the detriment of companies, not just in hiring top talent, but also in keeping current staff motivated and helped back into the workplace after an illness.

“Group risk benefits play a significant role in protecting staff and their families from the financial devastation that illness, disability, accident or death can bring and are some of the most cost-effective benefits that can be offered to staff,” she said.

“They also enable a business to reinforce its position as a caring employer by throwing a financial lifeline to people when they need it most.

“It therefore makes sense for businesses to ensure that staff know and understand what is in place for them, as financial peace of mind can generate much goodwill and improve engagement - which can be wasted if staff are kept in the dark on what is there to help them.”

Figures from the Grid’s survey, carried out earlier this year, revealed 1,878 people were helped back to work, supported by the insurer with an active early intervention. This was before a group income protection claim was even made.

For this reason, Ms Moxham said it was imperative for employers to take advice on how to use group risk benefits to attract and retain key personnel.

She added: “If staff don’t know about the benefits they won’t know about the other help included with them - such as an employee assistance programme, a second medical opinion service, online health assessments and fast-track access to counselling and physiotherapy.