More than £1.68 billion was paid out by the group risk industry over 2018, demonstrating a £64.5 million increase on 2017, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).
The research, based on claims data from Grid’s provider members, also found that 26,505 claims were made in 2018 for group life assurance, group income protection and group critical illness.
Group life policies paid £1,117.2 million for 10,027 claims in 2018, which is an increase of £50.2 million since 2017. The average new claim amount for these types of policies is £114,691. In terms of group income protection policies, 15,244 new and existing claims paid out a total of £482.7 million for the year, as at 31 December 2018; this is an increase of £16.2 million per annum compared with 2017. The average new claim amount for group income protection is £26,322 a year.
In 2018, £82.4 million was paid out for 1,234 group critical illness claims, which is a decrease of £1.9 million from 2017. The average new claim amount in 2018 was £66,824.
Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson at Grid, said: “It’s always great to be able to demonstrate how employer-sponsored group risk protection benefits do what they say on the tin, not just in terms of financial payment, but also by helping people through some really difficult periods of their lives.”
More than a third (36%) of all claims submitted, covering 3,551 people, were able to return to work in 2018 because of early intervention measures; 52% of these individuals used the available early interventions to help with mental illness and 17% used this support to overcome musculoskeletal conditions. Of the 5,454 group income protection claims that went into payment during 2017, 2,044 individuals were helped to make a full return to work during that year or 2018.
Moxham added: “Despite the uncertainty around Brexit, the health and wellbeing of staff, particularly around mental wellbeing, continues to move up the government’s workplace agenda. Employers looking for help in how to support this will find that group risk protection products can provide a lot of answers as the inherent support services that come with them significantly extend the reach of the help employers can give to their people, especially for mental health.”
The main cause of new claims in 2018 related to cancer, which was the reason behind 42% of group life assurance claims, 25% of group income protection claims and 69% of group critical illness claims. A quarter (24%) of group income protection claims were for mental illness, 15% of group life assurance claims related to heart disease and 8% of group critical illness policies were utilised as a result of heart attacks.
“It’s important to remember that every number has a person and a story behind it. We meet people’s needs by treating them as individuals and tailoring support to their unique circumstances and, once again, these figures demonstrate the positive difference the group risk industry makes to people’s lives every day,” Moxham concluded.