Zurich urges joined up approach from Government and insurers to tackle long-term sickness absence
Swindon, February 24, 2017
Insurer joins call for a financial incentive and urges Government to take a strategic approach
Leading insurer Zurich has today welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Improving Lives Green Paper, and the recognition the consultation has given to Group Income Protection (GIP) insurance and its vital role in supporting employers and employees through ill health.
Zurich has urged the Government to take a strategic approach across all departments to address welfare challenges and to harness the support available to people through workplace income protection policies.
Research published by Zurich shows that overall the taxpayer gains around £165m a year through GIP policies through lower welfare payments and higher income tax and National Insurance Contributions.
In addition, substantial benefits arise through the rehabilitation support provided via GIP policies including swift access to treatment and therapy that may be less readily available via the NHS. Consequently, in its consultation response, Zurich has joined the call for the Government to consider a financial incentive to improve take-up of GIP among employers.
Zurich highlights that a financial incentive is just one key element of a package of initiatives required to galvanise stakeholders and stimulate action. These include the need to:
- Raise awareness of the need to protect and highlight the vulnerability of UK employers and employees to the risks of long-term sickness absence
- Promote the employer benefits of good workplace health and wellness management
- Highlight the health and wellness solutions available including GIP
- Stimulate intermediary engagement with employers through clear messaging including Government endorsement and employer incentives
Zurich urges the Government to create an environment that encourages those employers who are able to take action to protect their employees do so, so that the State can focus on those businesses and their employees who don’t have the resources to offer private provision.
Nick Homer, Head of Market Management, Corporate Risk said:
“Zurich believes that Income Protection cover and the rehabilitation support provided within it need to be at the heart of any UK welfare solution, which should be a partnership between the State, employers and insurers.
“The provision of Group Income Protection can help drive a much-needed cultural shift amongst employers that supports employee wellbeing and creates a positive workplace environment that supports both health and safety and occupational health.
“We know that return to work success among employers who provide workplace Income Protection cover is substantially higher than those who don’t, benefitting employers and the wider economy.”