While the financial benefits are usually the main reason why people choose to protect their income, GIP and Income Protection for individuals frequently come with a wide range of added value support. And it’s not just for employees. Employers too can also get access to expert advice and support tools. Even better, this type of support - for both employer and employee - usually comes as part and parcel of the policy and doesn’t cost a penny extra.
So what are some of the typical built-in benefits?
Employee and Employer Assistance Programme
Commonly called an EAP, with GIP policies it offers expert advice, information and practical support on a range of work and life issues. These may include health and wellbeing, money matters, bereavement, relationships, family and basic legal advice for domestic problems. It may also offer face-to-face or telephone counselling and even cognitive behavioural therapy to help people combat stress.
The employer can often access services such as advice for managers and more in-depth legal advice, especially around employment law, taxes and disability legislation.
While not universally available, some Individual Income Protection policies will provide access to an EAP similar to the programme GIP employees have. It may not necessarily be as comprehensive, but will usually offer at least an entry level of support tools and advice.
Vocational rehabilitation complements GIP perfectly. While the benefit ensures the ill or injured employee has financial security and peace of mind, expert Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants (VRC) can help the employee make a safe, and importantly, sustainable return to work when ready.
Companies that provide GIP may have their own in-house medical and vocational expertise, or might partner with an external company. Typically, VRCs have qualifications across a wide range of specialities, such as Occupational Therapy, Occupational Psychology, Physiotherapy and Nursing.
Some of the things a VRC may do are:
- Suggesting practical ideas to aid recovery
- Acting as an independent intermediary between the employee and employer
- Highlighting potential barriers that may prevent the employee returning
- Suggesting possible adjustments to the employee’s workstation or workplace
- Creating a graduated return to work plan
Some GIP policies also allow early intervention, allowing employers to flag up situations where they believe an employee who is still at work may be struggling with a health problem.
Calling on expert VRC support early can help to prevent workplace absence by tackling short-term issues before they become long-term health problems, affecting performance and productivity.
Some personal Income Protection policies may also offer an incapacitated employee help to return to work where they believe the individual’s circumstances suggest it would be beneficial.
Sickness absence monitoring
Failing to monitor sickness absence can leave employers in the dark about causes of absence, possible trends, and the true cost of illness and injury to the business.
Meanwhile, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) absence management report for 2016, ‘presenteeism’ (where people come in to work while ill) is an issue for British businesses. They also revealed that more than a quarter of companies reported that ‘pulling a sickie' was one of the top 5 causes of absence3.
The expertise that typically comes with Group Income Protection allows companies to keep a check on the causes of absence, flagging any trends so they can be nipped in the bud. Businesses also no longer have to rely on, or try to interpret, a GP’s fit note. Instead, absence is assessed, monitored and tracked independently, providing a realistic account of how long absence may be expected to last, while identifying people persistently having time off.
Both Group Income Protection and Individual Income Protection policies may offer a number of additional benefits, either included in the policy or as an add-on that costs extra.
Some examples may include:
- Payments for a hospital stay
- An option to increase the benefit in line with inflation during a claim
- Life insurance
- Percentage increase in benefit after an agreed length of sickness absence
A broker or IFA will be able to discuss what options on offer best suit the buyer’s needs. For a list of IFAs, visit the Unbiased website.