Pay4Sure is a short benefit term plan that pays an income if an employee is off work for between one and six months due to sickness or injury. The plan must be taken out by the employer, with employees opting in to be covered. Premiums are payable monthly through payroll deduction.
As well as the financial benefit, there is also an employee assistance programme (EAP) and a 24/7 GP consultation service (by phone or an online consultation via webcam), which also includes an electronic private prescription service. The EAP offers counselling on stress, debt and bereavement and on other issues.
The benefit can be £500, £1,000 or £1,500 a month and is paid after the employee has been off work due to sickness or injury for more than 30 days. There is an initial qualifying period of 14 days for injury claims and 90 days for illness claims. Back and mental health claims are subject to the stricter criteria common on general insurance plans (e.g. the latter must be certified by a consultant).
Exclusions are fairly standard and include most dangerous pastimes, semi and professional sports and having a blood alcohol limit of over 80mg per 100ml of blood (the drink driving limit except in Scotland).
The monthly premium is £10.18, £20.37 or £28.30 a month (including Insurance Premium Tax) depending on the benefit level chosen. Pre-existing conditions are excluded for a continuous period of 24 months after cover starts. Employees must be aged 16-67, living in England, Scotland or Wales (the plan is not available in Northern Ireland) and working at least 16 hours a week.
What They Say
Managing director of employee benefits, Brian Hall said: "While individuals may return to full health and fitness relatively quickly, the negative impact on their financial wellbeing can take months or even years to recover from. Our new Pay4Sure policy has been designed to provide employees with a ‘back-up plan’, to prevent illness from also triggering debt or financial hardship.
"Where employer budgets are stretched, access to cover can be offered to all employees at no cost to the business."
What We Say
"While long-term income protection (IP) can be valuable if an employee cannot work because of sickness or injury, even a relatively short time off work can give rise to a big financial headache. This plan is designed to fit that need, offering simple cover in an easy to buy and understand form. Just three benefit levels are available, there is no upfront underwriting, and premiums are paid by the employee through payroll deduction.
"Such simplicity has its downsides though – employees may want more or less cover and the plan is only really suitable if the employee’s sick pay scheme kicks in after six months. If there is no sick pay scheme, the employee would probably be better off with more tailor made IP cover. And if (when) IPT goes up again, so premiums under this plan will rise too.
"That said, if the plan meets employees’ needs then it is certainly worth considering – and the EAP and GP service mean it can help even if not off work."