GLA policies typically cost less than half a percent of payroll and extra support benefits provide extra value for money, despite common misconceptions
To coincide with Dying Matters week, Group Risk Development (GRiD) has highlighted that group life assurance (GLA) will pay out if a policyholder takes his or her own life, despite widely held beliefs that this would not be the case.
The common misconception is that employer-sponsored life assurance, the most common group risk product, does not pay out in the event of suicide, GRiD has warned.
For individual life assurance, a pay-out for death from suicide usually depends on a set amount of time that a policy has been in existence, however for GLA no such exclusions exist.
In the UK, around 6000 people die by suicide each year, and GLA, which in 2017 had an average pay-out of £113,479 for claims, can offer huge financial relief for families alongside bereavement and other support.
GRiD hopes that by dispelling myths around GLA and suicide, employers will see the attraction of offering the benefit to staff.
This, alongside extra support for employees and families via an employee assistance programme (EAP), which can help support mental health issues and prevent suicide or attempted suicide, also adds value to the policy, while training for members of staff managing employees with mental health problems is also available.
Such help is also available on a daily basis - not just when a claim arises - with insurance providers offering online tools, hubs and portals tailored towards improving mental health, as well as guidance for employers and line managers.
Rollercoaster of emotions
Dave Middleton, managing director at Aon Employee Benefits Warwick, and chair of a GRiD committee, has had himself had personal experience of a death of a family member from suicide.
"When someone close to you dies suddenly in this way, you experience a rollercoaster of emotions and it can take some time for life to return to anything that you recognise as normal," he said. "During this time, life's costs and bills accumulate and can become an enormous source of stress for the grieving family if there is no financial plan in place to deal with them.
"Financial support from an insurance pay-out not only helps cover funeral costs but can also give family members the financial breathing space to come to terms with their loss over a period of time, without immediately having to return to work to maintain an income."
Another common misconception is that GLA is too expensive, with employers opting to allocate budget elsewhere, however policies typically cost less than half a percent of payroll. Considering the level of extra benefits as well as financial support for employees on offer, GLA offers excellent value to employers.
"Group llfe assurance is a really accessible product with low premiums that employers should be confident in offering to staff knowing that it has more hidden benefits and fewer exemptions than is often presumed," added Middleton.
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