Most protection professionals are driven by the prospect of dramatically and positively impacting the lives of people who have experienced a significant change in their circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened this. We as an industry have the potential to support more people than ever before.
Advisers choose insurers based on a number of factors but notably price, service and policy conditions. Limited focus is placed on the value of support services –an integral part of any robust Health &Wellbeing strategy that includes protection. As a Group Protection provider, our ability to bulk buy ensures we can secure the best quality support services for our clients at the best price. Our challenge is to evidence that we continue to do this and highlight why our suppliers are more relevant than ever.
During this period, business leaders are rightly focusing on keeping their employees safe and protecting the stability of their business. Challenges include setting staff up to work remotely, managing unusual situations such as furloughs and in some cases applying to the Government for financial aid. For some, it is simply a case of survival until the Government eases the lockdown and ‘normal’ activity can resume. However, it is still important that legal obligations are met. For example, decisions about individuals’ employment must be conducted properly and the legal processes adhered to.
A strong protection policy will offer a legal guidance element within its support services suite. At Canada Life, BusinessCare acts as a central reference point for all the legal information employers need, online or by telephone. Monthly bulletins are also issued to help employers keep on top of what is an especially fast-moving environment at the moment. In these uncertain times it is a significant safety net to have this information on hand when other avenues might not be readily available.
It is worth reiterating that solutions such as BusinessCare are free to use, with no extra cost to the premium paid for the insurance (in our case for every CLASS and Group Income Protection customer). But how many clients know they have access to this support? You can add value to your client by encouraging them to sign up for the free monthly bulletins or ensuring they are aware they have access a template letter to use when furloughing employees. As the coronavirus crisis progresses, further changes are afoot such as a homeworker risk assessment and remote working policy. For those in real need of a discussion, all documentation can be reviewed at no additional cost. All of our policyholders have access to a free legal helpline, specialising in employment law, which they can call to discuss their specific needs.
Naturally at this time, focus has been centred on employees. The challenge has been housing all the support available to them in one place. EmployeeCare, our Employee Assistance Programme, addresses this. We have pulled together COVID-19 toolkits for employees, including tips on self-isolation, caring for others, work and illness, and maintaining your mental wellbeing. With so many diverse sources, being able to recommend a reputable source for employees and removing any ambiguity is really important.
This is a great opportunity to either introduce or remind your customers of the quality of the support services available to them from their Group Insurance provider. It shows a level of care and attention to your client that will bode well for future retention and opportunities to review other aspects of their employee benefits. It is the opportunity to be the adviser that makes the difference. Many are using this time to show their worth, be it sharing working from home tips, highlighting bereavement services or making sure HR have their expression of wish forms up to date. It is now more than ever that companies see the benefit of this cover beyond a necessary cost.
Now is the time to step up to the support service challenge. In today’s environment, the value and quality, coupled with the financial benefits, means they could have a positive impact on the business. Beyond that, your communication could help an individual, a family or a community when it is needed most.
Paul Avis is Strategic Propositions Director at Canada Life