What is Group Risk Insurance?

Group Risk is the collective term for three insurances taken out by companies to provide protection for their employees, the insurances are Group Life Insurance (Death in Service), Group Critical Illness and Group Income Protection.

So, on top of the salary, paid holidays, pension and the joy of working for you why would you choose to invest further in the cost of your team?

Three reasons:

1. Staff recruitment
2. Staff retention
3. Showing that you’re a caring employer

These benefits are commonly offered by the larger employers and increasingly in a competitive recruitment market place SMEs should also be investigating offering these benefits.

Group Life/Death in Service

Group life is a company policy that pays a benefit to an employees’ dependents in the event the employee dies whilst employed by the company.

Benefits can be a fixed amount or a multiple of the employee’s remuneration, typical amounts are 3- or 4-times salary but can go much higher.

An advantage of group life is the “Free Limit” which is the amount of cover the insurer will offer to each member without the need for any further medical underwriting. It means that for many schemes they can be set up quickly with no need to provide medical history.

We’d recommend taking tax advice as we’re not tax advisors, but our current understanding is that the premiums are fully tax deductible for the business and there’s no “Benefit in Kind” tax liabilities for the employees

The group risk market insures over 9.5 million people for death benefits valued at over a trillion pounds – Swiss Re Group Watch 2018.

The average claim was £113,479 and the main causes for claim were cancer (43%) and heart disease (14%) – GRiD 2018 Claims Survey.

Group Critical Illness

These policies are taken out by the employer and provide a lump sum payment to an employee in the event of a diagnosis of a serious medical condition or they’ve undergone a specific medical procedure. The condition must be one that is listed on the policy as not all illnesses will be covered.

Unlike Group Life insurance where there is no “Benefit in Kind” tax liability for the employee, Critical Illness premiums do incur a tax charge for the member, although premiums are fully deductible for the company.

The group risk industry paid out £84.3 million in critical illness benefits to 1,180 people during 2017 – GRiD 2018 Claims Survey.

Group Income Protection/Employee Sickness Insurance

A company’s employment contracts will lay out the employer’s commitment to pay an employee whilst off sick. Being signed off sick for a prolonged period could potentially leave an employee short of their monthly salary payments. Sickness insurance helps bridge that gap, by continuing to pay sickness cover for up to 2, 5, or 10 years, or even up until retirement in some cases, depending on the policy type.

Group Income Protection is a company policy which provides sick pay to employees if illness or injury leads to a prolonged period of absence.

The benefit is paid to the employer and paid through their PAYE mechanism, premiums are tax deductible for the company and there’s no P11D benefit for the employee, although of course payments are taxed like income.

Another advantage of this type of policy is that group income protection providers support employees to help them return to work.

The average new claim paid in 2017 was £24,257 pa and the main causes for claim were mental illness (24.5%) and cancer (24.2%) – GRiD 2018 Claims Survey.

2,989 people (33.1% of all claims submitted) were helped back to work in 2017 before they reached the point of making a claim – GRiD 2018 Claims Survey.

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