MASSIVE BUSINESS PROTECTION GAP
The business protection gap stands at £1.1 trillion, according to new research from Legal & General. The insurer claims this is the first time in four years that a new figure has been calculated, updating Swiss Re’s widely cited research from 2005. L&G conducted research among 1,000 members of the British Chamber of Commerce in April.
‘STIFF UPPER LIP’ CANCER RISK
Men are almost 40% more likely than women to die from cancer, according to a new report published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and Cancer Research UK together with Men’s Health Forum. Men are also 15% more likely to develop the disease in the first place. Experts suggest that a possible explanation for the differences seen for some types of cancer could be down to stereotypical male behaviour – like down playing important early symptoms and having an unhealthy lifestyle.
SICK LEAVE WORKERS COURT WIN
Workers on sick leave do have the right to holiday pay, the House of Lords has ruled. The decision concludes the long-running case of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs v Stringer, Ainsworth and others. The Lords decided that workers who are denied holiday pay can pursue a claim to an employment tribunal for unauthorised deduction from wages under the Employment Rights Act 1996.
NHS FACES £15BN FUNDING GAP
The NHS is facing its “biggest organisational and financial challenge ever” in the shape of a £15bn real terms funding gap, according to a report from the NHS Confederation. The shortfall for the five years from 2011 is equivalent to a funding decrease of 2.5-3% per year. Dealing with the downturn warns that this will have “serious consequences” for the country and urges NHS leaders to take radical action and “hard decisions” now to fend off inevitable questions about the sustainability of the state-funded model.
RECESSION HITTING BRITS’ BENEFITS
More than half of all UK workers (54%) have experienced a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or a loss of benefits since the recession began, according to a survey of over 1,600 workers by the Keep Britain Working campaign (keepbritainworking. com). Over the last nine months 27% of UK workers have had their pay cut, 24% have had their hours reduced and 24% have lost benefits, according to the survey. While 37% of UK workers have experienced just one of these changes, 12% have experienced two of them and 5% have experienced all three. More than half (54%) said they were more pessimistic about job prospects this month than they were last month, giving a “Job Optimism Index Score” of minus 37.
STRESSED WORKERS ‘UNSUPPORTED’
More than a third (38%) of employees say stress levels at work are higher than a year ago, yet less than one in three (29%) believe their organisation is doing anything to help them manage this, suggests a YouGov poll conducted for Investors in People. The online survey of 2,261 adults, conducted in March, suggests that almost half (43%) of stressed employees blame a lack of confidence in management for an increase in stress levels. Only 5% of employees said they were receiving more support from their managers than they did before the downturn and only 12% think their manager has adapted “very well” to the effects of the downturn.
BOOK TELEINTERVIEW ONLINE
An online booking system will enable advisers and their clients to book their teleinterview appointments immediately, MorganAsh has announced. The teleinterview provider, which works with several major insurers including AEGON, Bupa, Friends Provident, Canada Life and Aviva, has developed an online calendar divided into 30 minute slots. Managing director Andrew Gething is currently calling on all insurers to publish non-disclosure figures. MorganAsh figures indicate that material non-disclosure following a full nurse teleinterview is 1.7% for life and critical illness products and 5.8% for income protection, compared to 18% and 34% respectively when application forms or on-line systems are used.
ONE-OFF LONG-TERM CARE FEE
Elderly people could be given the choice of paying a one-off fee of £12,000 in return for free long-term care in later life. It is thought that a forthcoming Government green paper will outline plans for a voluntary levy which older people would pay to guarantee them care until they die. The new system could address some people’s concerns that their entire savings are at risk of being wiped out by the system, should they enter into a home for a potentially lengthy period of time.
NHS DENTISTRY SHORTAGE
Three million people in England tried but were unable to get an NHS appointment in the last two years, according to Which? The consumer charity surveyed 2,631 adults between January and February this year and found that of the 68% of people who had tried to make an appointment 88% were able to do so. However, in addition to those who were unable to do so, 7% had gone private the last time they went to the dentist, with some citing failure to find an NHS dentist. The government recently initiated an independent review of NHS dentistry in England, which is being led by Professor Jimmy Steele of the University of Newcastle.