Support services provide balm amid coronavirus crisis

Support services provide balm amid coronavirus crisis

While thousands of people suffer from the effects of the new coronavirus in the UK, there are millions more balancing working from home, caring for elderly or vulnerable relatives, running their households or looking after children.

Others are completely alone, with family members hundreds of miles away – perhaps even in another country.

The stress, the busyness and the enforced isolation can wreak havoc on people’s mental and physical wellbeing. 

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Not for nothing have celebrities such as Joe Wicks created free online workouts to help people keep in shape in their front rooms, giving them a break from the computer and giving them some structured exercise. 

Even the government has allowed what is becoming known as our ‘state-mandated hour of exercise outside’.

These things are important to maintain a sense of normalcy, get people out of their enclosed spaces for some fresh air, and get people away from their screens.

Key Points

  • Many people may be struggling with isolation or family pressures
  • Insurers offer support services
  • If a policyholder dies due to Covid-19, the insurance company should pay out

But this is not enough – and this is where advisers can help encourage their clients to do more to look after their physical and mental wellbeing.

There are millions of insurance policies in the UK, both individual and workplace, and while these are primarily intended to give a financial benefit on death, illness or accident, they come with a host of additional services that can be invaluable in these trying times. 

Policies give people access to qualified nurses through services such as RedArc, provide online mental health counselling and physiotherapy services, encourage wellbeing and fitness through rewards and incentives, and offer online GP access, 24-7, through services such as Doctor@Hand (available from Axa).

Tom Conner, director at Drewberry Insurance, said the company has compiled a list on its website of all the additional support services on offer across the different policies their clients hold, to “alleviate strain on the NHS at this time”. 

Indeed, making the most of the various insurers’ online GP access will help people get doctors’ diagnosis and advice on any non-coronavirus related issues, so people do not have to go to A&E.

And it is not just individual protection policies offering such benefits; the group risk cover in place across thousands of UK employers also offer similar benefits to staff.

With millions of working adults now mandated to operate from home, other staff put on furlough or even taking extended, unpaid leave, good employers are doing what they can to support their staff.

True, some – such as the boss of a well-known pub chain – have been taken to task publicly over staff pay arrangements, but most are doing what they can to keep, motivate and encourage their staff.

And, according to workplace insurance trade body Group Risk Development, nearly 2.5m employees in the UK are covered by schemes that will provide financial support if they are unable to work through illness, while 9.5m are covered by schemes that pay out a lump sum death-in-service benefit.

But more people will be able to benefit from the support services, phone lines, wellness schemes and online healthcare consultancy that is available.