EXCLUSIVE: 80% rise in worker Covid death pay outs

How has Covid-19 impacted the group risk industry?The amount of money paid to dependents of employees who died with Covid-19 (Coronavirus) soared in 2021, research has revealed.

Data collected by reinsurer Gen Re showed an 80% increase last year in the value of group life assurance pay-outs involving Covid-19 on a death certificate or claim form.

The figures, sourced from providers on behalf of industry body Group Risk Development (Grid), highlighted that more than £168 million was awarded last year, up from £93 million in 2020.

Between 1 January and 31 December 2021, 1,578 lump sum death benefit claims were settled, while the figures also include the capitalised value of 24 dependants’ pension claims where Covid-19 was recorded as the primary or secondary cause of death on the death certificate, or reported on the insurance claim form.

The average lump sum death benefit payment for Covid-19 claims was £100,387, and the average capitalised value of dependants’ pension claims for Covid-related deaths was £410,950.

Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham said losing the income of a loved-one could be “financially catastrophic” for people. Payment of a group life assurance benefit provides a vital financial lifeline for dependants, she added.

Moxham explained that in addition to financial payments, dependants also often get access to other support such as bereavement counselling and guidance on probate to help them through a challenging time.

“Employees are increasingly looking to their employers to help them through the challenges they’ve faced during the pandemic, and this is for all areas of health and wellbeing, including financial,” she said.

“The figures released today represent hundreds of families that have been supported because of an employee benefit, and we’d encourage more employers to offer this to staff.”

Group life assurance is one of the most popular benefits offered to employees, according to Grid, with nearly 10 million UK workers covered. Group life assurance policies make a payment to dependants if the employee dies.