Critical illness cover, life assurance and income protection insurance have traditionally been chosen by employers for the potential financial protection they offer staff in the event of illness, death or disability. But the majority of employees will not get any benefit from these products as long as they remain healthy, so employers that have offered these benefits have struggled to get employees engaged.
However, the added-value support that employees can now access on a day-to-day basis, before a serious problem arises, has become so significantly enhanced, that employers now need to choose such benefits based on the added-value support rather than the financial payout – if they want staff to appreciate and engage with the protection that their employer provides – according to RedArc Nurses.
Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc Nurses says: “A lump sum or regular payout is now considered just the bare minimum level of protection for employees. Of course, there are differing amounts of payouts from one policy to the next, but if the majority of an organisation’s staff don’t need to claim, they won’t feel the benefit or engage with the employer or insurer.
“Added-value services turn a potentially dry benefit, such as protection insurance, into something much more tangible and applicable to the whole workforce.”
Technology as an enabler
For the added-value support within protection insurances to reach more members of staff at more organisations without significant cost implications, mobile technology is being increasingly embraced by insurers as the enabler.
Technology-enabled options can now include access to value-added services which provide vital support to employees in their daily lives. This includes 24/7 GP access, online health assessments, fitness trackers, nurse advice via chat, stress busting and smoking cessation. Daily contact can be maintained via a tailored newsfeed on the health and wellbeing topics of choice for each employee too.
And when employees need more support, technology can facilitate timely access to clinical experts, such as specialist support for mental health, bereavement, stress, PTSD and serious illness.
The future is value-add
Whereas historically employers may have chosen protection insurance based on cost, the future will see it based on added-value. Employers that are looking to offer benefits that are appreciated and utilised need to base their decisions on different criteria now that the landscape has changed, and the extra support adds more value to the many.
Christine Husbands continued: “Employers should be asking themselves what they can offer via an insurance product that gives employees a range of vital support services in their daily lives. In doing so, they’ll increase engagement in their employee benefits programmes, and staff will get a better sense of the investment their employer has made.”
In addition, when accessing online support, whether in person or anonymously, employees feel part of a community which, in turn, breeds more engagement throughout an organisation.
RedArc also highlights the fact that by offering a range of services that are available from day one of the policy, not just for those claiming, staff are able to benefit from early intervention which mitigates the chances of issues escalating. Employers will also see a reduction in the number and duration of absences, and thereby the number and duration of claims.
Husbands concluded: “Luckily for employers, this is not a binary choice. By carefully selecting their insurances based on the extra support offered, employers can ensure that the small few still receive a payout when it’s needed, but that the majority also receive support to negotiate life’s day-to-day problems via added-value services.”