InteractPlus is a group income protection (GIP) plan that also includes an absence management system – a first, Ellipse says.
Initially the plan is available for schemes up to 300 lives but later this year will be extended to cover larger workforces too. Maximum annual benefit is normally £350,000 per employee.
A key element of the plan is that as soon as an employee takes any sickness absence they must contact Absencecare. This is to ensure that the absence is managed professionally throughout, right from day one. Absencecare informs the employer of the absence and as well as managing and mitigating risks can also identify any underlying health issues and trends.
The GIP element is a conventional product, with the employer deciding who should be included and what level of benefit they should get (different categories of member can have different benefit levels). State benefits can be taken into account and the percentage of income to be insured is flexible. As well as the basic benefit, employers can also insure pension scheme contributions and/or employers’ National Insurance contributions.
Four disability definitions are available (own occupation; suited occupation; own occupation switching to suited occupation after 24 months of claim payments, and activities of daily working). Deferred periods can be 4, 8, 13, 26, 28, 41 or 52 weeks. Selected retirement age can be a fixed age (eg 60, 65 or 70) or the greater of age 65 or the State Pension Age. Benefits can be level or increased by 3% or 5% a year or linked to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) up to a maximum of 2.5% or 5% a year or linked to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), with the same maxima. Free cover or automatic acceptance limits apply and these are reviewed at the end of each rate guarantee period (usually two years). There are no standardexclusions.
What They Say
CEO John Ritchie said: "If an employer can't reliably say where their people are and how they are, then they are failing to deal with the full risks that employee absence and ill health bring to the workplace. The concept behind InteractPlus was to design a first-of-its-kind product to specifically enable employers to address this serious shortfall."
What We Say
"Insurers have done much to take a more proactive role in helping claimants back to work, but Ellipse takes that a stage further by incorporating a dedicated sickness absence managements system. For some it will be important that that service is not undertaken by either the insurer or employer, so may be perceived to be fairer or at least avoid potential conflicts of interest.
"The GIP itself is a typical sound offering, using technology to make life easier for intermediaries as well as clients, but it is the whole package that adds up to the complete proposition for employers. If it works, the result should be cheaper GIP premiums as well as better sickness absence management. An accompanying research study, by Professor Cary Cooper CBE gives valuable insights into sickness absence and presenteeism (or Wickies - working sickies)."