Financial services provider The Wilson Organisation has had a group income protection (GIP) scheme, provided by Unum, in place for about 25 years.
Group financial director John Steele says it is a legacy policy that was first introduced with the organisation’s defined benefit (DB) pension scheme. “The DB scheme needed to attract good-quality staff, so a [GIP] scheme was an additional benefit, added as an ill-health, early-retirement option,” he says.
The aim was to provide a product to bridge the gap between the date at which an employee may have to retire on grounds of ill-health, which may be at only 30 to 35 years of age, and the state retirement age.
The Wilson Organisation closed its DB scheme to new members in 2000 and for future accrual in 2010. New recruits can now join its replacement group personal pension (GPP) plan, which was introduced in 2000. “Members of the DB scheme went to a GPP money purchase environment and if they have to retire early through ill-health, they don’t get a lot,” says Steele. “The [income protection] is a safety net, which is valued.”
The organisation has had two claims through the scheme, which costs it £20,000 a year to provide for its 60 UK-based employees. One claim involved a long-serving employee in his late fifties whose health had deteriorated.
Among other things, he had developed high blood pressure and could not work. Steele says: “He was able to call on that benefit and it was good for other staff to see that he was being looked after after all those years.”
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