Group risk premiums rose by 2.9% in 2011

Group risk premiums rose by 2.9% in 2011, reversing the negative trend of the past two years, according to research by Swiss Re.

Its Group risk 2012 report showed premiums increased across all product lines, including death benefits (up by 4.1%), long-term disability (up by 0.1%) and critical illness insurance (up by 9.4%).

The report highlighted the gradual shift in the role of employers and the impact this change is having on employees purchasing additional cover. It showed that flexible or voluntary cover is now 10% of total in-force premiums.

The report also found that group life schemes currently provide 40% of all insured death benefits in force in the UK, while group long-term disability schemes have increased their share from 70% to 75% of all insured cover since 2002.

Ron Wheatcroft, technical manager at Swiss Re, said: “It is good to see market growth again after two very difficult years of continuing financial pressures on organisations.

“However, the group risk market continues to be tough with pressures on employers to control or reduce their costs.

“The growth of flex and voluntary cover may be an indicator of a gradual change in the role of the employer from benefit provider to facilitator as organisations seek ways of sharing costs and providing greater employee choice.”

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