ICAP cuts costs with review of sickness absence strategy

EXCLUSIVE: Interdealer money broker ICAP has cut its total cost of absence by one-third and reduced its group income protection premiums over the past three years after a major review of its sickness absence strategy.

Since the review, which began in 2009, the firm has reduced the number of days’ absence taken by its 1,600 staff because of musculoskeletal problems by 44% from 600 to 329 days. It has also reduced its income protection premiums by £109,000, from £605,000 in 2009 to £496,000 in 2011. In 2010-11, for the first time, it had no income protection claimants.

Simon Hemmings, head of compensation and benefits at ICAP, said: “It became apparent we were suffering a high level of long-term sickness absence that led to high insurance premiums for group income protection.†

“We wanted to target absence related to musculoskeletal issues in particular because it was also affecting short-term absence, as well as being a disproportionately high spend on the private medical insurance (PMI) scheme.”

Working with consultancy Bluefin, ICAP analysed its absence data to find the causes of problems and develop solutions. As a result, it introduced an occupational health scheme in 2009 and formed a link with physiotherapy and rehabilitation centre Pure Sports Medicine.

Hemmings said: “A key benefit is that it offers prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation at a local practice within walking distance.”

ICAP’s work with Pure Sports Medicine also removed the need for staff to have a GP referral through the PMI scheme. “We have had incredible results,” said Hemmings. “Employees love it, it is easy to access and there is a consistency of treatment. Also, we could manage our costs better because we were funnelling employees through one provider.”

Staff communication was a key element of ICAP’s strategy, he said. “Email has historically been the best way to communicate, but we found that the sheer volume of emails people get meant they tended not to read [them].”

As a result, it placed posters in key locations.

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