Vitality launches healthcare benefits scheme for SMEs

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development, said Grid had been working for some time to encourage employers and their advisers to consider the value of additional support offered alongside group income protection plans, whether this is helplines, nurses on call or other benefits.

She said: "We have been promoting the advantages of offering additional healthcare benefits within a group risk product to give value to employers and their employees and to support a healthier workforce overall.

"Government is even encouraging employers to do more to promote physical and mental wellbeing in the office, so any savvy employer will be using such services to the best of their ability and encouraging staff to take advantage of these."

Generally, she added, value-added services as the ones being offered by Vitality, are available to all employees, whether or not they are insured under the employer's specific healthcare scheme, as it is about "prevention and supporting staff, which helps with engagement and productivity. We wouldn't do it if it were not worth it".

However, getting people to take this up has not always been easy. In a Grid survey of 500 decision makers at firms, carried out by Opinium in 2017, only 32 per cent of employers said they made regular use of all the extra support within group risk products.

However, claims statistics from Grid in 2018 revealed there was increased usage, with 75,446 interactions made in 2018 with the various additional help and support services that are funded by group risk insurers giving daily value to employers regardless of whether or not a claim was made under their policy.

Ms Moxham added: "As ever, communication is key. Employers have to know about the extra help that comes along with insurance products in order to communicate them effectively, in turn, to their people. This then drives greater usage, which knocks on to better appreciation, engagement and productivity giving a win, win outcome."