Support services 'vital' at time of national crisis

Support services 'vital' at time of national crisis

Clients suffering anxiety and mental ill-health, especially during this Covid-19 crisis, can be well-served by protection policies that offer a range of support services, experts have claimed.

According to Emma Thomson, product strategist at British Friendly, the additional benefits that come with group and individual insurance policies have "made a real difference" to policyholders, both during the Covid-19 crisis and at other times. 

She said: "We offer a package of discretionary support services called Mutual Benefits at no extra cost. These include access to health support services like second medical opinions, Virtual GPs who can be reached for non-Covid-19 queries and counselling, which could be particularly useful to support those suffering mental health issues.

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"There is also help with ongoing issues, such as will writing services, and discounts on everyday brands and services."

In addition to the core income protection cover, British Friendly also offers financial support through its discretionary BF Care benefits including bereavement benefit and care assistance benefit.

She said: "Not only do we believe these help advisers with retention but they have made a real difference to our policyholders who have been able to claim additional financial support and valuable medical help in times of need. There are several case studies here that prove their value.”

Ms Thomson's comments were backed up by those of Dr Chris Morris, chief medical officer at Medical Solutions. He said the use of care and support services, such as remote GP and clinical pharmacist lines, were helping to "relieve pressure" on the NHS by providing consultations and advice for patients with non-coronavirus conditions and concerns.

Indeed, he said many services were being adapted to help signpost Covid-19 queries to the NHS to ensure a single point of monitoring and treatment.

According to Medical Solutions, which delivers thousands of consultations a month, demand has increased by approximately 300 per cent at their peak in March as the Covid-19 lockdown began. As a result, it increased its clinician and customer service resources.

Last week, benefits specialists Secondsight and employee wellbeing company Rightsteps teamed up to provide an online tool for businesses looking to safeguard their employees’ financial, mental and physical wellbeing.

The organisations have made this free to use for all its clients for the next three months, to enable employers to provide higher levels of support during the Coronavirus crisis.

The online tool will feature information and guidance, with the aim of helping thousands of workers with mental, physical and financial wellbeing support, whilst promoting an open, supportive culture.

Written by experts in the field, the easy to use interactive platform will be available 24/7 on any device, and with a dedication to using language that explains complex matters in plain English.

Ian Bird, director of business development at Secondsight, said: “It’s clear that there is not only a demand but a need for employers to be offering their people adequate support across all areas of wellbeing, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.