A total of £2.22 billion was paid out by the group risk industry during 2021, which is an increase of £208.4 million on 2020, according to data compiled by Group Risk Development (Grid).
In total, 6,113 employees were helped back to work after a period of sick leave. There were 220,886 interactions during 2021, with additional help and support services funded by group risk insurers.
Group life assurance policies paid out total benefits to the value of £1.57 billion, an increase of £198.47 million on 2020’s figures, while group income protection policies paid out a total of £546.1 million, a decrease of £4.72 million from 2020. Meanwhile, group critical illness policies paid out benefits totalling £106.3 million, an augmentation of £14.7 million compared to 2020’s figures.
Where the insurer supported a return to work with active early intervention, such as fast-track access to counselling or physiotherapy funded by the insurer, 4,395 people, or 45% of all claims submitted, were able to go back to work during 2021 because of such early intervention. This was a 14% rise from 2020. More than half (54%) had help to overcome mental illness and 10% had support overcoming a musculoskeletal condition.
The average new claim amounted to £116,414 for group life, £28,977 per annum for group income protection and £73,089 for group critical illness. Of the new group income protection claims that went into payment during 2020, 1,718 people were helped by the insurer to make a full return to work by the end of 2021.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “The statistics categorically show that group risk benefits such as employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness really are some of the most valued benefits that employers can offer: financially, practically and emotionally.
“The figures show the extent of the holistic support offered via group risk benefits: in the event of death, serious illness, prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation. It’s no wonder that an increasing number of employers are offering these to their workforces, and not just among large corporates, but SME and micro-SMEs too.”