The Work and Pensions Select Committee has called on government to consider the role income protection can play in enabling people to stay in and return to work.
The call came in the committee’s Plan for Jobs and employment support report.
The report calls on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to “consider the potential that income protection insurance has to help people experiencing illness or injury remain in employment, support their return to work and reduce the financial burden on DWP when people become unable to work”.
It further calls on the DWP to “explore how income protection insurance could work alongside occupational health as a joined-up approach to promoting workplace health”.
Despite the pressure from MPs earlier this month, a Treasury consultation published last week on supporting workplace and occupational health ignored group risk benefits when asking whether there is a case for tax relief to be introduced for employer provided private medical insurance (PMI).
However, Zurich head of group risk Nick Homer revealed he met the select committee chairman Sir Stephen Timms MP to discuss the benefits of group risk to workplace health.
Homer was delighted to see the “positive” reference to the role income protection plays in the report “acknowledging the important role it plays in providing both financial and rehabilitation support for UK workers, which benefits the economy, society and the welfare state”.
“This is particularly pleasing because it also highlights a genuine desire from those with influence to consider the broader health and wellbeing landscape and how the public and private sector can collaborate in addressing the UK’s workplace and labour market challenges,” Homer continued.
“Currently, we almost have a perfect storm in terms of workplace health issues with people falling out of work, particularly experienced older workers, and the lack of success in supporting those with health issues to either remain in or return to work.
“However, there has never been a greater opportunity for the public and private sector to collaborate positively in respect of workplace health through their engagement with employers to inform, promote and potentially reward best practice.”
The report came a week before the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Insurance and Financial Services hosted a panel discussion in Westminster where Axa Health commercial director Fergus Craig championed the work the insurance industry does in keeping people at work.