Whoever says insurers do not pay out can not have come across the group risk industry, which is as ever rising to the challenge as these benefits, employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness benefits, come into their own.
Over the years, whatever the catastrophic event the group risk industry has been there, quietly and quickly working in the background to help alleviate financial distress. Not only have death claims been paid quickly, but group risk providers also ensure much needed ongoing support and counselling is made available to victims and their families.
The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is no exception to this. While the pandemic took many businesses by surprise, the group risk market is financially secure, models for pandemics, and the entire industry reconfigured to working from home and is now reporting pre-lockdown levels of productivity. This is no mean feat in itself, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating and employers with group life provision in place will be finding that death claims are being paid quickly and without fuss for those who have sadly died from Covid-19 (Coronavirus).
The dependants of employees with group life benefits in place have been paid benefits valued at a total of nearly £57 million as a result of Coronavirus between 1 January and 30 June 2020. This represents 475 lump sum death benefit claims, plus the capitalised value of seven dependants’ pension claims where Coronavirus has been recorded as the primary or secondary cause of death on the death certificate or reported on the claim form.
Group life is one of the unsung heroes of the benefits package but at times like these, it really does come into its own. Employers can not bring people back for their loved ones, but they can make sure that any financial pressures are alleviated so families can concentrate on each other and how to move forward instead of worrying about financial survival.
There have been no exclusions imposed by the group risk industry for Coronavirus, and there is no intention to do so. The industry is open for business and here to do what it says on the tin, which is to support people at times of death, illness or injury. Offering support in such a practical and tangible way really is a hygiene factor for any employer of choice.
Katharine Moxham is a spokesperson at industry body Group Risk Development.