£1.6bn paid in group risk claims in 2017

Katherine Moxham

Just over £1.6 billion was paid out by the group risk industry over 2017, showing a £120.5 million increase on payments made in 2016, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).

The research, which is based on claims data from Grid’s provider members, also found that 25,906 claims were made in 2017 for group life assurance, group income protection and group critical illness.

The research also found:

  • Group life policies paid £1,067 billion for 9,404 claims in 2017. The average claim amount for group life policies in 2017 was £113,479.
  • Group income protection policies paid out £466.5 million a year, towards 15,322 claims over 2017; this is an increase of £107.8 million compared to 2016. The average claim amount for group income protection policies was £24,257 a year in 2017.
  • In 2017, £84.3 million was paid out for 1,180 group critical illness claims, which is an increase of £12.7 million from 2016. The average new claim amount in 2017 was £71,463.
  • 33.1% of all claims submitted were able to return to work during 2017 because of early intervention measures; 52% of these individuals used the available early interventions to help with mental illness, and 17% used them to overcome musculoskeletal problems.
  • 68% of group critical illness claims in 2017 related to cancer, compared to 43% of group life claims and 24.2% of group income protection claims.
  • 24.5% of group income protection claims over 2017 related to mental illness, 14% of group life claims related to heart disease and 9% of group critical illness claims were for heart attack cases.
  • 7,879 individuals accessed extra help and support during 2017, following a referral by a group risk insurer. Of the 5,255 group income protection claims that went into payment during 2016, 1,955 individuals were supported by their group risk policy to make a full return to work in 2016 or 2017.
  • Of those group critical illness claims that were not paid out in 2017, 49% were because the employee’s condition did not meet the definition of critical illness being claimed for. 48% were because the claim was for a pre-existing or related condition excluded under the policy.
  • 98% of the group income protection claims that were not paid in 2017 were because the employee did not meet the definition of disability.
  • Of the group life claims that were not paid out in 2017, 39% were because the claim did not comply with policy terms and 33% were because the employee did not meet actively at work conditions.

Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson at Grid, said: “Once again, it’s great to be able to show how employer-sponsored group risk protection benefits support people through some really difficult times through a financial pay-out as well as in other ways.

“Grid’s latest employer research cites the key reasons why employers provide group risk benefits. These include helping with recruitment and retention [or] differentiating their [organisation], being able to recoup the costs in improved productivity and team morale, and paternalism.

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“Enlightened employers see exactly how group risk benefits and their inherent additional services help with engagement and productivity, support employee wellbeing and enable a business to fulfil its duty of care. They also ensure fair and consistent treatment of people, and can put businesses in a prime position to comply with their role in the government’s ambitions for healthier and more inclusive workforces.

“One size doesn’t fit all; people’s needs are met when they are treated as individuals. These figures illustrate the very real difference that group risk protection products make to peoples’ lives day in and day out.”