Knowledge of group risk products remains low among the UK workforce, particularly when compared to other countries, according to a new research.
Zurich – in partnership with Oxford University – surveyed workers across a number of different countries about their knowledge of financial planning and concerns about career opportunities.
The report found that in the UK, just 26 per cent of men, and 17 per cent of women say they are familiar with term life or income protection products.
This compares to 56 per cent of men in Germany and 39 per cent of womenwho are familiar with term life products – and 45 per cent of US male workers and 30 per cent of female workers.
However, in both Germany and the US there is less recognition of income protection products. In the US it was 28 per cent among men (and 10 per cent among women, while in Germany this was just 13 per cent for men (6 per cent for women).
Swiss workers were among the most knowledgable about group risk products. Here 38 per cent of men and 32 per cent women were familiar with income protection, while 27 per cent of men (and 12 per cent of female workers) knew about term life insurance.
However in the vast majority of countries covered by this survey — which included Spain, Italy, Romania, Russia and Japan — there was a significant gender gap between male and female workers when it came to understanding and knowledge of group risk products.
This lack of understand filters through to sales, with just 20 per cent of UK respondents saying they were covered by either a term life or income protection policy.
Ownership was lowest among younger millennials, and highest for older millennials. Those working in manual- routine occupations were least likely to have either type of insurance (15 per cent). However, coverage was widest amongst those working in ‘manual-creative’ occupations (28 per cent) followed by ‘knowledge creatives’.
The report also highlights that new technologies, globalization and demographic shifts are changing the way people work across the globe.
Other key findings show that UK workers biggest financial worry was having too little saved for a comfortable retirement. This was cited by 41 per cent of respondents.
Job instability was another major concern. However while 12 per cent of UK respondents said they expect to lose their job in the next year, a larger number – 23 per cent – said they planned to leave their job voluntarily within the same time period.
The traditional model of a job for life with a single employer is no longer the norm for many with new technology creating more opportunities for self-employment and ‘gig’ work. 9 per cent of UK respondents said they already have multiple jobs, this compares to 17 per cent in the US and 18 per cent in Japan.
Zurich’s head of corporate risk Nick Homer says: “Our objective is to learn more about how workers see their own situations and circumstances and how businesses see their role evolving within the new world of work. The study should contribute to the broader debate about work and financial resilience over the coming years making it easier for those setting policy to respond effectively.
“We know that any solution to provide better protection for people and their families must involve multiple stakeholders across the public and private sectors. It means collaborating with Government and others to encourage greater awareness of the issues, and more provision of support through workplaces and individually.
“Also key is making sure that any welfare provision works alongside any private arrangements in place. We’ve seen some progress here with clarification last year that lump sum pay-outs from critical illness and life insurance policies won’t impact on means testing for some benefits like Universal Credit where money can be used to clear mortgages or other debt. However the same protection isn’t given to rental payments, showing there’s more work to be done.”