MetLife UK has extended its group life master trust proposition, with a new ‘excepted’ option aimed at smaller employers.
MetLife says this new option should increase flexibility and cut the administrative burden for many employers.
It says it hopes this move will help the company grow the group life business, particularly in the SME market by reducing the barriers to employers providing death-in-service benefits to staff.
MetLIfe already offers a registered group life master trust, launched in 2013. This has more than 1,500 participating employers.
Research from MetLife shows around a quarter (23 per cent) of companies employing between 50 and 299 staff offer life insurance, but more than half of them (53 per cent) plan to expand the benefits they offer over the next two years.
Its research also found that more than half (51 per cent) of SMEs which do not currently offer benefits beyond pensions say they cannot afford to provide them; while 11 per cent say they do not have the in-house expertise to provide benefits.
A master trust can remove some of this administrative burden for employers, as the legal responsibility, decision-making and reporting for tax to HMRC is handled by independent trustees. In MetLife case this is via Irwin Mitchell Trustees.
The trusts are free to use for employers, employees and advisers.
MetLife head of propositions Clare Lusted says: “Employers clearly want to expand the benefits they provide staff, and life cover is a crucial part of this market.
“Excepted cover is increasing in popularity across the market partly because of reductions in the pension lifetime allowance, and adding it to our master trust proposition will enable us to support more employers and particularly help the SME market.”
Any employer taking out a MetLife Group Life policy can use the master trust and there is no maximum limit to the number of employees that can be covered.
As part of the enhancements to its range of master trusts, MetLife has also streamlined the process for transferring existing MetLife Group Life policies into the trust.