Research by Group Risk Development (Grid) has revealed the UK group risk industry paid a record £2.01 billion in claims to employees and dependants in 2020.
This is equivalent to £5.5 million a day and an increase of £255.7 million since 2019. A total of 4,476 employees were helped back to work after a period of sick leave, and the study by the industry body found that cancer was the main cause of claims received.
Further research revealed group life assurance policies paid out total benefits to the value of £1.37 billion, group income protection policies paid out a total of £550.9 million and group critical illness policies paid out benefits totalling £91.6 million. These figures were all an increase from those in 2019.
Interactions with services such as an employee assistance programme, HR and line manager advice, online GP services, second medical opinion services and physical and mental health apps almost doubled to a record 138,222 interactions compared to 2019. Insurers have seen significant online and telephone usage for support service interaction, with online usage increasing by 45% and telephone usage rising by 42%.
In addition, the average new claim for group life amounts to £118,244, with claims for group income protection and group critical illness running at £28,138 and £70,274 respectively.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “The number of interactions is extremely positive and demonstrates that, although it’s not every day that a claim is made, the value embedded is useful and relevant to employees when they need it. Fast access to extra support for physical and mental health such as physio, rehab, employee assistance programmes, counselling, online GP services, health apps and second medical opinion services provided via group risk policies has been particularly helpful for people as they’ve had to access healthcare services in a different way throughout the pandemic, particularly during the first lockdown.”