Employers should provide wider insurance benefits

The majority (92%) of respondents believe employers have a role to play in the provision of wider insurance benefits, according to research by Swiss Re.

Its Insurance report 2013: Connecting generations – protecting generations found that, although two-thirds of respondents see the value of insurance, many of them find financial services and insurance uninteresting.

The report also laid out the concerns people have with insurance, and where opportunities and challenges lie for the industry.

It found that pensions auto-enrolment has enhanced the role of employers in the UK as an access point for financial products. It suggested that the industry could help this to happen, for example, by providing clear and simple communication to employees about their benefits packages.

The report identified three important issues: that many people have not started thinking about the long term; that they often have other priorities for the limited amount of money they have; and that a negative experience may have turned them off insurance companies.

Ron Wheatcroft (pictured), technical manager at Swiss Re and co-author of the report, said: “It’s telling that most [respondents] see benefit provision so positively. The insurance industry already does much good work providing protection cover through employers. Now is the time to build on this.”

Russell Higginbotham, chief executive officer of Swiss Re UK and Ireland, added: “This year’s Insurance report paints a startling picture of UK consumer thinking.

“While there are consumers who are switched on and savvy about financial planning, for a lot of people financial survival is about getting through to the next pay day. It’s so important to listen to our customers and be aware of the bigger picture if we are going to provide insurance protection for as many people as possible.

“The world has changed and will continue to change, and the insurance industry needs to keep ahead of the curve. We have to update our business models and innovate without losing sight of the fact that the fundamental need for saving and protection has not changed. Indeed, in a defined contribution pensions world, they become even more important.”