Employers are failing to make the most of their group risk protection policies, Group Risk Development (GRiD) warns.
The industry body said group risk products - including employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness - are potentially some of the most highly-valued and cost-effective benefits employers can offer but says employers can do more to get full benefit from their policies.
And it has highlighted five key warning signals for employers to tell whether or not they could be losing out:
1. You think the terms are bamboozling
If you insure these benefits, group risk policy documents are legal instruments so it isn't surprising if employers are bamboozled by some of the terminology. If you look at the policy you've bought and aren't sure what it all means then your adviser and your provider are on hand to explain any terms - this is imperative to make sure you get the most out of your purchase.
2. Your employees don't know what you offer them
GRiD research - conducted last year among a sample of 501 UK businesses - shows that only 16% of employers regularly communicate their group risk benefits.
Employers spend a lot of time choosing and negotiating benefits that will add value to their business and their staff. Employers that communicate them effectively are more likely to achieve that value. When staff know what you offer them and understand the value, you've done a good job. If you can't be sure that they do, then there's work to be done.
3. You don't know what's included
Group Risk policies can offer financial and practical support at a time when your staff need it most - including enabling a quicker return to work.
Furthermore, many employers may be paying twice for additional benefits that are already included alongside their group risk policies such as an employee assistance programme, a second medical opinion service, online health assessments and fast-track access to counselling and physiotherapy. Employers that know what's included are in a better position to get value.
4. You never utilise the benefits
It may seem counter-productive, but regular use of what comes along with a group risk policy can actually help keep premiums down. GRiD's research shows that about 50% of employers do not utilise the added-value inherent benefits. It's important that employers and employees realise these policies are not just there for when they need to make a claim. Many of these are also available to your employees who aren't covered by the group scheme. Regular, effective use of these services makes financial sense.
5. You don't know what they cost
GRiD's research shows that the majority of employers overestimate the cost of providing Group Risk benefits, with many thinking they are prohibitively expensive. This is not the case and there is also a lot of flexibility in choosing the benefit structure that will be of most use to you and your staff. If you haven't reviewed their cost for a while, then it is worth investigating.
Commenting, GRiD spokesperson Katharine Moxham said: "Group Risk protection benefits are some of the most valuable that can be offered to staff and provide many areas of help - from financial through to practical support for employers, line managers and employees.
"Advisers and insurers are only too happy to help businesses get the most out of these benefits. We would encourage employers to regularly engage with their advisers and providers of these benefits as those employers that are most engaged get the most value."