Stuart Demmon - Commercial Product Manager at Unum
As the fastest growing employee benefit in the group risk market (1), Critical Illness cover should be part and parcel of any discussion between advisers and their clients.
However, any conversation often starts and ends with Group Life insurance. But given the close synergies between the two products, advisers – and employers – are missing a trick by leaving Critical Illness off the table.
Why Life and Critical Illness?
While many Life insurance claims are the result of sudden death, employers and their employees often seek advanced payment (an early death benefit) for people with a terminal diagnosis. But current tax regulations prevent Group Life benefits from being paid until after death.
Critical Illness cover could bridge that gap. Unlike Group Life, Critical Illness cover can pay a tax-free lump sum payment following a diagnosis of cancer, terminal illness or some of the other leading causes of death that are defined conditions under cover – providing the person survives a specified period of time after diagnosis. This helps the employee and their family manage the illness. And if the worst should happen later down the line, the beneficiaries can potentially still claim the full amount on their Group Life policy.
Extra help for employees living with cancer in the workplace
Cancer is the leading cause of claims under both policies – 43% of Group Life and 68% of Critical Illness claims (2). As well as the tax-free, lump sum payment, employees can also benefit from the wider range of services on offer as part of their Critical Illness cover.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 report Cancer in the Workplace (3), the number of the working population affected by cancer is set to continue growing in the decades ahead. It’s clear that organisations need to provide more support for those affected by the disease.
As one of the UK’s leading employee benefits providers, Unum recently launched its Cancer Support Service - an additional benefit for all Group Critical Illness customers - providing further practical and emotional support for employees with a cancer diagnosis.
In partnership with Harley Street Concierge Limited, the service is designed to help both private and NHS patients take control of their situation by providing personalised cancer support and guidance on the best care and resources available.
Cancer patients are frequently asked to make quick decisions in difficult and highly emotional circumstances, often with limited information, on a topic they may know little about. This can be a bewildering time for both the person with cancer and their family.
Unum's Cancer Support Service:
• Helps employees better understand their cancer and the options available to them
• Gives fast-tracked access to leading cancer experts
• Provides ongoing support, such as managing appointments and test results.
Options for lower budgets
Understandably, smaller businesses may worry about budget. But voluntary or flexible policies are making employee benefits more accessible for smaller employers.
At Unum, we offer voluntary Critical Illness to employers with 150 or more staff, and our Simplicity Critical Illness policy is available for employers of 50 or more people if they fund as little as the first £10k of cover and allow employees to top up to a maximum of £60k.