In the wake of Mental Health Awareness Week, Group Risk Development (GRiD) has called for employers to make better use of the mental health support included with group risk products.
According to the company’s claims survey for 2017, claims for mental illness issues are almost as prevalent as those for cancer and employers should be encouraged to check their employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness policies to take preventative measures.
The organisation has flagged three main warning signs for employers that could prevent a more serious issue.
First, that employees can be affected by their dependants’ mental ill-health; second that support can often be accessed by all employees, not just those who are insured under such policies; and third that all group risk products have the potential to offer mental health support.
Katharine Moxham, official spokesperson for GRiD, said: “Although welfare counselling must adhere to certain guidelines to avoid potential tax implications, we really want to get the message home that, as employees can be affected when dependants suffer with mental ill-health, some help can also be provided to an employee’s dependants via an employee assistance programme. Many group risk policies include access to these services at no extra cost.
“Employers are expected to do more and more to look after their staff and the group risk industry recognises this and has done more and more to help them do just that.”
Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware, thinks this is a crucial message the industry needs to engage with.
He said: “Early intervention and rehabilitation services are underestimated and misunderstood by many and it’s very important that these are publicised as they are often the most positive part of the whole income protection claim.”
One in four people will develop a mental health issue in their lifetime, according to official government figures.