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Zurich reports 97% of Group Income Protection claims paid

Swindon, July 5, 2017

Global insurance company, Zurich today announces for the first time its payment rates for UK group income protection claims. Over 97 percent of new claims were accepted last year with employees benefitting from annualised payments averaging £37,900. 

During 2016, cancer was the main cause of claims at 27 per cent, followed by mental health (19 per cent) and musculoskeletal claims (13 per cent). 

Half of employee absences notified to Zurich did not progress beyond the end of the deferment period* and so did not reach claim stage. A large proportion of these are where the employee returned to work. Other reasons include the employee leaving employment or passing away. 

Overall, around 40 per cent of those who returned to work, benefitted from rehabilitation support through their cover. This is provided by an in-house team of nurses and physiotherapists who support employees with a tailored return to work programme or arranging private treatment to help with recovery. 

Where claims weren’t accepted, it was because the employee did not meet the definition of illness or disability on the policy. For example where medical evidence suggested people were capable of returning to work or if the absence wasn't a result of their own illness or injury. 

Group income protection also differs to individual income protection cover as the insurance often forms part of an employer’s wider absence management strategy. Consequently, this means that the insurer isn't necessarily notified of an absence with the expectation of payment, rather their role is to help validate the absence for the employer and explore rehabilitation opportunities for the employee. This can be extremely valuable for conditions like depression or anxiety where early intervention and longer term support can be crucial for recovery. 

Nick Homer, Head of Market Management, Corporate Risk said, "The financial and rehabilitation support provided through Group income protection has a major role to play in supporting employees and employers through ill health. We have been lobbying to promote the importance of income protection insurance, particularly in light of the declining welfare state and the Government's recent 'Improving Lives' Green Paper. 

"Return to work success among employers who offer group income protection is substantially higher than those who don’t, benefitting employees, employers, the state and the wider economy." 

Ian McKenna, Director of the Finance & Technology Research Centre, said, "It’s positive to see Zurich championing transparency in publishing its group income protection claim statistics and I’d like to see others follow suit.  This information is important because it can help support advisers and EBCs in recommending products that offer effective support to their clients at a time when welfare support for those sick or injured is being cut."   

Ends 

*This period is chosen by the employer providing the cover and is typically around 6 months. After this period, income protection payments for valid claims will start.