More than £1.68bn was paid out by the group risk industry during 2018, a £64.5m increase on 2017 and the equivalent of £4.61m a day, figures show.
The data from Group Risk Development (GRiD) reveals 26,505 families were helped to avoid financial hardship after the death, illness, accident or disability of a loved one.
In addition, 5,595 people were helped back to work after a period of sick leave and there were a total of 75,466 interactions during 2018 with the additional help and support services that are funded by group risk insurers.
Group life assurance policies paid out total benefits to the value of £1.117bn (an increase of £50.2m over 2017); group income protection (GIP) policies paid out a total of £482.7m a year (an increase of £16.2m over 2017); and group critical illness policies paid out benefits totalling £82.4m (a decrease of £1.9m compared with 2017).
The average claim amounts were £114,691 for group life; £26,322 per year for GIP and £66,824 for group critical illness.
Of the 5,454 GIP claims that went into payment during 2017, 2,044 people were helped by the insurer to make a full return to work during that year or during 2018.
Cancer was the main cause of claim across all three products during 2018 – with the highest for group critical illness (69%), followed by group life assurance (42%) and GIP (24.5%). Mental illness was the second highest cause of claim for GIP (24.1%).
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said that despite the uncertainty around Brexit, the health and wellbeing of staff – particularly mental wellbeing – continues to move up the government’s workplace agenda.
“Employers looking for help in how to support this will find that group risk protection products can provide a lot of answers as the inherent support services that come with them significantly extend the reach of the help employers can give to their people, especially for mental health,” she added.