Millennials are the generational group most likely to want to protection their income, according to new research from Canada Life.
It found that 28 per cent of employees aged between 18 and 34 thought group income protection would be the most useful protection product to support an extended career. This compared to an average of 17 per cent across other age groups.
Canada Life says these figures indicates that many millennials have had their entire working life coloured by the financial crisis of 2007-8, and they have learned hard lessons about financial security and stability as a result.
Meanwhile, the study found that almost half (44 per cent) of respondents aged 55 and over were unsure about which benefits would be most useful as they prepare to work beyond the traditional retirement age. Canada Life said this highlights the fact that employers and the insurance industry could do more to educate this age group on the options available to them.
Canada Life says these figures show there is a huge opportunity for employers to provide benefits which they know will be well-received by their staff.
The 17 per cent of people who expect to work beyond the age of 65 and believe GIP would be the most useful benefit translates to approximately 4, workers, but only 2.5m currently receive such benefits from their employer.
There is a similar picture for group critical illness. According to Canada Life’s research, 13 per cent of employees who expect to work beyond 65 believe GCI would be most useful, equivalent to 3m employees: yet barely 600,000 currently have access to this benefit.
Canada Life’s marketing director Paul Avis says: “There has been a consistent narrative in recent years that employees do not understand the value of employee benefits, especially ones like group income protection.
“Our research shows a new generation of employees are more aware of and more engaged with non-salary employee benefits. It is questionable if our industry is doing enough to support these employees, perhaps by helping older, more experienced decision-makers in companies to understand them and the importance they place on subjects such as mental health support.
“Group Insurance products have long been under-penetrated in the UK. Only 4 per cent of companies have our most common product, group life insurance, and a fraction of that have group income protection or group critical illness.
“It is in our interests and the interests of prudent, forward-thinking employees for our industry to ensure businesses big and small are encouraged to protect their most valuable assets – their people.”