Less than one-fifth (18%) of employee respondents have some form of critical illness or income protection cover that would help them financially if they were to develop a serious illness, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.
Its survey of 1,010 UK full-time and part-time employees also found that 72% of respondents would struggle to cope financially if their income dropped by £570 a month, the average loss of income experienced by 80% of families following a cancer diagnosis.
The research also found:
- 80% of respondents who are single and have children would struggle financially if their income dropped by £570 a month, and 10% of these respondents have some form of critical illness or income protection cover.
- 70% of respondents who are married or in a committed relationship with no children would struggle to cope if faced with a £570 a month reduction in income, and 18% of these respondents are covered by critical illness or income protection.
- 71% of respondents with children who are married or in a committed relationship would struggle to cope with a £570 drop in monthly income, and 22% of these respondents have critical illness or income protection.
- 12% of respondents who are single with no children have critical illness or income protection, and 70% would find it difficult to manage if their income fell by £570 a month.
- 18% of respondents have no savings at all, and 10% have less than £1,000 to fall back on.
- 72% of respondents would struggle to afford utility bills if their monthly income dropped by £570. Other expenditures that would be difficult to afford include the weekly food shop (57%), mortgage or rent payments (43%), TV, internet and phone costs (51%), and car and other travel costs (50%).
- 45% of respondents would need to apply for state benefits to get by financially if they were diagnosed with cancer and lost their income.
- 22% of respondents worry about being a financial burden on their family, and 16% are more concerned about their finances than their health.
- 46% of respondents are not worried about their lack of critical illness or income protection cover.
Paul Avis (pictured), marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, said: “A head in the sand approach to the financial impact of cancer is putting families’ futures at risk. Cancer accounts for nearly seven in 10 critical illness claims and incidence rates have risen across all age groups, affecting those of working age as well as older people.
“As cancer survival rates also rise, more will undergo extended periods of treatments, likely resulting in a leave of absence from work and a reduction of income. It’s clear from our research that most families would struggle to cope with this financially, but few have protection in place to provide the support they would need.
“With the ability to meet essential areas of expenditure such as housing, utility and food costs at risk, employers should consider the workplace benefits they can offer to prevent valued members of staff having to experience such hardship.”