Katharine Moxham: Align group risk benefits to make the package work

As employers prepare for auto-enrolment, it might pay to look beyond pensions and consider how group risk protection benefits sit within the overall package.

For example, group life assurance is traditionally valued by employees and has become an essential core benefit to attract and retain staff.

Group income protection can replace an ill-health early retirement promise after the closure of a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme. It can maintain an employee’s financial resilience when illness or disability prevents them from working, and it is also a business continuity tool, supporting staff to get back to work in a timely manner.

Where this is not possible, it gives an employer the financial advantage of having insured its liability to continue salary in the event of a long-term absence.

A group critical illness payout can supplement sick pay or go towards the cost of cancer drugs, allowing this expensive element to be stripped out of private medical insurance provision.

Understanding what comes with a group risk policy (such as HR support, employee assistance programmes and counselling) is vital and merits equal consideration along with price and core protection.

With the help of their intermediary, savvy employers will make full use of these additional services because they can save them money elsewhere and can be used on a daily basis, even if a claim is never made.

Employers seeking to ensure their perks package is still fit for purpose will discover group risk options ideal for crossing the pension and healthcare silo boundaries and tailoring the package to meet their needs.

Katharine Moxham is a spokesperson for Group Risk Development