Employers ‘deliberately not communicating group risk’ – Grid

Katherine MoxhamEmployers are deliberately not communicating group risk benefits to ensure they are not abused, with less than a third detailing group risk benefits in their employee benefit statements, research from Group Risk Development (Grid) has found.

The research found 12 per cent of employers say they ‘make a point of not communicating their group risk benefits to ensure they are not abused’, even though it is very difficult to abuse these benefits.

Grid says this negative attitude to group risk means employees are missing out on services such as employee assistance programmes, second medical opinion services, online health assessments and fast-track access to counselling and physiotherapy.

The research shows only 16 per cent of employers make a point of issuing regular communications on their benefits package, and just 30 per cent detail group risk protection benefits in their employee benefit statements.

Just one in five – 21 per cent of employers – see it as a major selling point at interviews and only 38 per cent clearly lay out group risk protection benefits on their intranet or in their staff handbook for existing staff.

Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “When staff need practical support – if diagnosed with a critical illness, or are unable to work through ill-health or injury, for example – then these benefits come into their own. It is imperative that employers understand how best to use group risk benefits and the supporting services that come along with them so they can let their staff know how to access them when needed.

“Our research also shows that a third of employers – 32 per cent – use group risk benefits to attract and retain key personnel, so effective communication is vital in achieving that goal.

“We all have a part to play in making sure employers are aware of what they are buying and how best to use it; likewise that employees understand the value of these benefits and are able to access help and advice when they need to. It is very sad to see that some employers purposefully don’t communicate these benefits – if those employers better understood them they would be much more enthusiastic about espousing the value to their workforce.”