Select is an inclusive group risk plan that aims to expand that market. It is available as a Standard plan (a traditional employer funded group risk scheme) or on a voluntary basis, funded by employees themselves.
Employers can set up life, income protection and critical illness cover within one overall group risk plan. The plan can then be funded wholly or partly by the employer or by the employee. An employer that wants its workforce to have group risk benefits but not to have to pay for that itself could set up a plan wholly funded by the employees only.
A worksite education programme gives a tailored approach to communicating with staff about the benefits available and can include group presentations, internet and phone communications and one to one meetings with “Unum Select enrollers”. These are Unum staff who come into the workplace to educate employees on the need for financial protection and to explain what is and is not covered.
Select Life Cover on a voluntary (employee funded) basis requires “active enrolment” of employees, and includes guaranteed insurability (GI, which is the equivalent of free cover limits on traditional group life). Up to £250,000 of cover is available (or up to twice that on standard employer-funded plans, which must cover at least 75% of eligible employees). Employers can contribute a fixed monetary contribution or make a partial (up to 75%) contribution or allow employees to pay the whole amount.
Select Income Protection pays up to £36,000 a year on voluntary plans and offers a range of deferred periods, and benefit terms from as little as six months up to a maximum retirement age of 70.
Select Critical Illness Cover provides up to £100,000 on Standard plans. Spouse’s and children’s cover is also available.
Under voluntary schemes, Unum says it asks just a “handful” of health and lifestyle questions, then applies a simple accept or reject underwriting approach.
What They Say
Marco Forato, chief marketing officer, said: “We are committed to finding ways to protect the majority of the UK workforce, rather than the minority. Part of that commitment is around making cover more accessible, and importantly we also need to find ways to make the process of doing group risk business easier.
“Currently, only 1 in 10 private sector employees in the UK are covered by income protection provided by their employer. In its Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government made it very clear that it will be looking to individuals to become responsible for their own welfare and protection, and it is increasingly pushing financial protection responsibility towards employers as well as employees.
“This is a huge opportunity for us to help close the financial protection gap – both in terms of education and provision.”
What We Say
Worksite marketing has been successful in countries like the US and in the UK in areas such as health cash plans, but remains an under-used distribution channel. By introducing enrollers and giving a choice of protection covers, Unum hopes to make group risks easy of buy (online quotes and administration help), and focusing on employee benefits education could open up group risk benefits to all employees rather than just high earners. But some IFAs will invariably see this as losing some control. Our suggestion is to try it.