Benefits shouldn't be a case of 'risky business'

Benefits shouldn't be a case of 'risky business'

The ongoing call for more inclusive benefits is one that should be listened to by HR departments across the world. A recent report from Canada Life found that three in four UK employees would struggle financially if they suffered a cancer diagnosis, suggesting that employers need to do much more to ensure that their benefits packages are supportive.

And with more and more onus being placed on workers’ health and wellbeing, it seems only natural that HR sit up and take note of what options are out there – namely paying more attention to Group Risk which is the undiscovered gem of the benefits world. In a series of seven articles, Canada Life aims to bring these benefits to the forefront. 

Speaking to HR Grapevine, Paul Avis, Group Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance, explains exactly what the Group Risk industry can do to help provide such support.

“On the face of it, Group Risk benefits comprise what look like four simple product areas,” he told us. “However, there is a lot of flexibility in these financial products: all are backed by support services which can be used without any need for claims to be made, all have low-cost options and all provide immediate support, in addition to a financial benefit, when employees need it.

“Predominantly bought through benefits advisers, they are employee benefits which help bolster staff attraction and retention and also aim to serve other business needs such as meeting moral or contractual obligations. Benefits can be paid as fixed amounts or a multiple/fraction of the employee’s salary.”

But what exactly are these schemes and what do they do? We have listed them below, whilst Avis provides more clarity on what they entail.

1. Group Life Assurance – Lump Sum Benefit

“Group Life Assurance offers a multiple of salary (often 4x) or a fixed amount as a lump sum to an employee's family and dependants should they die at any time while employed. Schemes may be ‘registered’, in which case the benefits contribute to any lifetime allowance calculations, or ‘excepted’, in which case the benefits are considered separately.

“Excepted schemes come with additional trustee responsibilities and possible charges, so specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before progressing with this type of scheme.”

2. Group Life Assurance – Death in Service Pension

“A ‘Death in Service Pension’ offers a long-term income to the employee's spouse or financial dependents, which can be based upon a proportion of the employee’s salary or their prospective pension. In addition to a spouse's pension, benefits may be provided for surviving children or orphans if the surviving spouse also dies. Once in payment, benefits can be level or increase automatically each year.”

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