Employers are being encouraged to help staff develop financial resilience, after a report highlighted an “increasing sense of insecurity amongst UK households”.
Building Resilient Households by the Chartered Insurance Institute revealed areas of growing concern, such as more people being unable to work because of poor health and a lack of employer support in these situations.
The report stated: “One particular theme that came through was that today’s generation of workers are increasingly likely to look to their employers for wider wellbeing support alongside fair pay. In an increasingly tight labour market those employers who provide support with health and welfare are likely to have the edge.”
Commenting on the findings, Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for group risk body Grid, said: “Employers have a significant part to play in improving the financial resilience of the UK’s working households by providing adequate sick pay and benefits for other financially devastating events such as death and diagnosis of a serious health condition.
“The group risk industry provides a solution for employers for this via its group risk insurance offerings, which are employer-sponsored death benefits, group income protection (for long-term sick pay) and critical illness benefits.
“Not only will the pay-outs help to maintain a household’s financial status quo but these products come inbuilt with additional support services for physical, mental as well as financial health and wellbeing. Some will also include a debt consolidation service, discount vouchers or a pay advance scheme as well as financial education – all of which can be helpful when people are struggling financially.”
Clare Lusted, Unum UK’s head of product proposition, added: “The report highlights a lack of financial resiliency among UK consumers – understandable following a pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis but nonetheless concerning.
“Fortunately, it provides many suggestions that could significantly boost households’ financial resiliency – many of which Unum UK wholeheartedly stands behind. Such as pushing for better promotion of employee benefits and listing insurance payouts from income protection, critical illness and life insurance as key to coping with income shocks.”
Lusted suggested that since the report cites digital exclusion as a barrier to consumers taking up protection products themselves, greater employer coverage could increase financial resiliency.
She added: “Plus, the report finds employers’ advantages over employees when purchasing benefits (such as better buying power and the ability to use payroll mechanisms) tends to offer employers easier access to higher quality benefits than employees.
“Offering employee benefits is good for not only employees but also employers. In the report, employees say they’re increasingly likely to look to their employers for wider wellbeing support. In today’s labour market, employers providing health and wellbeing support may help them get an edge.”