The company has introduced a group income protection plan enabling employers to pay their employees an income if illness or injury prevents them from working. As well as showing employees that they are valued, such plans can help to attract and retain the best staff and speed up their return to work through rehabilitation programmes.
Zurich’s plan can be tailored towards employers’ budgets and employees’ needs. It is available on a gross pay or integrated basis. Under gross pay schemes state benefits such as the employment and its support allowance can be deducted to offset against the basic benefit. The plan’s maximum benefit will normally be 75 per cent of salary, but can be up to 80 per cent including pension contribution and no deductions.
Members of integrated policies are expected to apply for state benefits but if they do not qualify, the plan will pay the full amount without deductions. The maximum benefit is 80 per cent of salary including pension contributions. The minimum deferred period for this type of plan is 28 weeks and it is not available for members above the age of 64 or schemes with less than 20 members.
Both types of plan allow a choice in the definition of incapacity between own occupation, suited occupation and a benchmark based on performing the necessary duties of a benchmark occupation. A combination of definitions can be chosen so that the policy can switch to another definition after a certain period.
Zurich Group Risk recognises that service levels are important to advisers. It will issue quotes within five working days and accounts within 10 working days, which should please advisers. However, it may be difficult for Zurich to prise new business away from established players such as Unum and Legal & General.