GIP insurer’s early intervention and rehabilitation services are now returning more than one in four workers back to work, according to industrywide group risk statistics published today.
Group Risk Development’s GIP return to work figures, published today, show 27 per cent of those receiving early intervention support from insurers returned to work, up from 25 per cent in 2015 and just 20 per cent in 2014.
The Grid statistics show 2,289 people were helped back to work through active early intervention support from an insurer in 2016, with group risk products paying out £1.5bn across the board, supporting the financial resilience of 24,925 UK families.
Cancer was the main cause of claim across all group risk products, responsible for 68 per cent of Group critical illness payouts, 43 per cent of group life payouts and 42 per cent of GIP payouts.
Group life policies paid out total benefits of £1.067bn, while GIP paid out income of £358.7m a year. Group CIC policies paid out benefits totalling £71.6m.
All three products show an increase in benefits paid out compared with 2015.
Average claims payouts stood at £114,239 for group life, £24,740 a year for GIP and £65,704 for group CIC.
Of the 2,289 people who benefitted from an active early intervention through GIP, 54 per cent had help to overcome mental illness and 17 per cent had support in overcoming musculoskeletal problems.
The figures show that 15.4 per cent of GIP claims were declined in 2016, the main reason being because the employee did not meet the definition of disability under the policy terms because they were adjudged to still be capable of doing their own job despite their reason for absence. Grid cites the example of a claim of an employee who claimed on the basis she needed to claim for her ill husband, which was refused by the insurer and upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
For group CIC, 18.6 per cent of claims were declined, 47 per cent of which were turned down because the condition was not included in the policy. Grid cited the case of an individual who wanted to claim for a heart attack when they had chest pains but hadn’t had a heart attack, who saw the insurer’s decision not to pay the claim upheld by FOS.
Pre-existing conditions resulted in 37 per cent of declined claims in 2016, while employees trying to claim for a condition that wasn’t covered under the policy was the cause of 11 per cent of declined claims.
Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “These figures give insight into the fantastic contribution of employer-sponsored group risk protection benefits in supporting people when they need it most. These policies pay out in dreadful circumstances for employees and their families. It’s excellent to be able to quantify the extent of the support we give as an industry through publishing these figures.
“It’s very affordable for employers to make a difference, but Grid’s research regularly indicates that the cost of these benefits is overestimated or businesses don’t appreciate how much is included, which could also actually save them money elsewhere – for instance by not having to invest separately in a stand-alone employee assistance programme or HR/legal advice.”
Canada Life Group Insurance marketing director Paul Avis says: “On the surface the fact that so many people have been returned to work is a fantastic result. But bear in mind that the 2,289 people returned to work represent just 0.1 per cent of the more than 2.2m people covered by GIP. There are clearly a lot more employees going absent than are using the early intervention services offered by insurers, so there is a massive opportunity for advisers to help employers get more value from their products by getting them to access these services.
“We prevent 93 per cent of those using our early intervention services becoming a claim, with absences for these employees averaging between five and seven weeks. There will come a point where the number of employees returned to work through early intervention services will exceed the number of claims paid – at that point we will be able to say we are support services providers as much as insurers. We are also working with advisers to show how increasing use of the early intervention services increases return on investment by reducing statutory sick pay payouts. This should help justifying expanding membership of existing schemes to include new employees, as well as to new employers.”
Aviva managing director, group protection Steve Bridger says: “Group protection providers are specialists in early intervention and helping people to stay in work, or get back quicker. These services are a really important part of what the industry provides for both employers and employees.
“Aviva’s rehab figures show that mental health cases now represent 57 per cent of all our referrals but only a third of our claims meaning many people are getting the support they need before going off work with long term illness. This clearly demonstrates the value of early intervention services.”