High excess deaths figures are a “stark warning” and highlight a need for workplace death-in-service benefits, according to the industry body representing the group risk sector.
Grid believes that recent data from the Office on National Statistics showing that the number of deaths in the week ending 13 January were 19.5% higher than the five-year average indicates support from employers is essential.
Providing death-in-service benefits, known as group life assurance, would ensure that if an employee dies their family and dependants would have a “financial safety net”, says the body.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, commented: “During Covid, we saw many more people become aware of their own mortality and that of their close family, but as life returns to normal, it’s human nature to think these things won’t happen to us. However, this data is a stark warning that many families are indeed losing loved ones unexpectedly. This heartache can be hugely amplified, especially if the remaining family are not able to cope financially.”
While the reasons for the 17,381 recorded deaths in the period are unknown, many households are often unexpectedly left without a breadwinner when a member of the family dies. Therefore. Grid believes that offering group life assurance is the right thing for employers to do.
Moxham added: “This is very much a peace-of-mind benefit. The employee will never see the funds, but they can benefit by having the reassurance that should something happen to them, their family will not struggle for money in the short term.”
Generally a much lower cost benefit than other group risk products, death in service is generally of a significantly lower cost than other group risk products and is typically paid out as a tax-free lump sum. Another benefit for employers is that premiums can usually be offset against corporation tax.