Market chaos may slow intermediary business

Uncertain financial markets could put the brakes on those intermediaries seeking to grow their employee benefits business but should not threaten existing client relationships say advisers and providers.

But employers should be taking every opportunity to ensure that their employees recognise the value of their overall remuneration package, say advisers.

There is a fear however that a prolonged downturn could force employers to re-evaluate their benefits offerings, but this is likely to be after they have cut costs with more obvious targets such as ceasing recruitment activity and cutting existing salary roll costs says Matthew Lawrence, practice head, risk and healthcare at Aon says:

Lawrence says: “Any period of ongoing economic uncertainty will obviously be of concern to employers. Whilst there are different views regarding the impact any long-term economic downturn has on the provision of employee benefits it could potentially be viewed as an area where costs could be managed down.

“We certainly would not expect a knee jerk reaction as employers tend to take a more long term with their benefits strategy. One reason being that ultimately businesses know that their people are important to them and therefore either during or after a downturn, the ability to recruit and retain the right people in critical.”

Ron Wheatcroft of Swiss Re’s UK L&H client markets team says: “Inforce schemes tend to be quite resilient to changes in economic circumstances, not least because of the need to unravel some of the contractual arrangements between the employer and employee. To date, we have seen no evidence of any impact from the financial market conditions of recent months on the UK group risk market.”