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IP message is not reaching employees

Advisers and employers are failing to take advantage of the group protection market despite it accounting for 70 per cent of income protection business and 40 per cent of life business, says Swiss Re.

Life and health technical manager Ron Wheatcroft says employers and advisers are not communicating group insurance products as well as they should be, leaving employers open to question the point in providing such a scheme and employees confused about what they are covered for.

He says: “What we see happening is employers are providing these covers but are not communicating the value of them to the employees. When we did research with employers 18 months ago, there was an appetite, even in SMEs, for some type of income protection benefit for their employees, whether it is a short-term benefit for three to five years or longer term.”

Wheatcroft says employers are in a unique position and have many access points within financial services, including pension provision and private medical insurance, begging the question of whether there is scope for IP schemes.

He says: “We need to be thinking about these types of solutions and making it much easier and more attractive for the intermediary to approach the employer with an attractive proposition.

“This seems like one of the most logical ways of getting IP out there.”

Wheatcroft says the challenge now is providing cover for the other 30 per cent of employees without IP.

He says: “There is still a lot more we could do. Maybe we need to work with organisations like the CBI and the Institute of Directors to help promote the message and improve awareness.”

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