Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, reckons 2015 may be the year when Group Risk finally starts to step out of the shadows and stops playing second fiddle to pensions.
He commented: “Employers dipping their toes in the benefits waters for the first time should look to Group Risk as a vital protection tool for employers and employees alike, it is too often overlooked, misunderstood or deemed not an important enough product. However there are a number of developments in this area which could mean that Group Risk’s time in the spotlight is finally approaching.”
1. Political patronage & greater media profile
There is increasing awareness amongst senior figures in the Group Income Protection (GIP) market that this vital benefit is not readily understood or utilised by the vast majority of employers and their employees. This trend needs to be reversed, and it is predicted that some of the major political parties may respond to recent industry lobbying (such as the recent ABI report) by including a focus on this need in their 2015 manifestos, prior to the General Election in May.
2. The Group Income Protection Auto-Enrolment debate
At the start of 2014 there was only lukewarm industry support for a motion to extend Group Income Protection (GIP) to the UK workforce under legislation similar to that of Auto-Enrolment for pensions. However, 12 months on and the debate seems to be swinging towards at least a limited version of this ideal. So 2015 is likely to see a more intensive continuation of this debate as the industry seeks to find a formula that is fit for purpose, and ensures that the principle benefits and features of GIP remain widely available to all.
3. Better understanding of additional features
The industry has spent much time and money seeking to promote the additional features of Group Risk which can help employers both manage absence and improve the health and wellbeing of their employees. With an increased employer focus on absence management in 2015, we are likely to see the industry respond with more events and communications highlighting how employers can use these non-core features to better manage such issues.