By: 31 May 2024
Group risk protection: a lifeline for employees and employers

In 2023, group risk protection continued to be a crucial support system for employees and their families, as evidenced by the latest industry data compiled by Group Risk Development (GRiD). This year saw employers leveraging employer-funded life assurance, income protection, and critical illness benefits more than ever, resulting in a total payout of £2.49 billion by the group risk industry, an increase of £278.4 million from the previous year.


Return to work success

A standout achievement for 2023 was the high rate of employees returning to work following sick leave. GRiD’s data reveals that 50.5% of employees who began a period of prolonged sick leave in 2023 were back at work by the year’s end, thanks to the comprehensive support from group risk insurers. This support included early interventions such as access to counselling, physiotherapy, vocational rehabilitation, and mediation. Of the 6,299 individuals who returned to work:

  • 4,691 returned before a claim was even made.
  • 1,608 returned after claiming group income protection (GIP) benefits within the same year.

Additionally, group risk insurers made 7,305 interventions within six months of an employee’s first absence, helping 47% of these individuals overcome mental illness and 10% overcome musculoskeletal conditions. Overall, over 8,000 people benefited from these interventions in 2023.


Financial impact and benefits

The financial aspect of group risk protection is equally significant. The average new claim amounts—£137,448 for group life, £27,206 per annum for group income protection, and £77,743 for group critical illness—underscore the vital financial support provided across all salary levels. In 2023, group risk benefits paid out as follows:

  • Group life assurance: £1.69 billion
  • Group income protection: £633.6 million
  • Group critical illness: £160.3 million

Cancer remained the predominant cause of claims across all group risk products, with 39% of group life assurance claims, 24% of group income protection claims, and 68% of group critical illness claims attributable to it.


The broader picture

The embedded support within group risk products, such as access to virtual GPs, has seen increased utilisation, with over 440,000 interactions recorded in 2023.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, emphasised the broader impact: “The record numbers of long-term sick is an issue for the UK, and these figures show how group risk contributes to a solution: employers who offer group risk benefits to their workforce have real and practical help in keeping their employees in work, and helping those who are absent to return.”

As financial resilience in the UK faces challenges, group risk benefits offer an essential safety net for employees and their families. These benefits provide an affordable way for employers to support their staff during times of need, ensuring that employees can return to work and maintain financial stability.


Image: Canva.
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.