3rd February 2021

A brand new survey of 2,000 SME workers from brokers Drewberry reveals an huge upsurge in worker demand for employee benefits since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The statistics from Drewberry’s 2021 Employee Benefits survey show a sharp rise in employees seeking insurance benefits in particular since the last survey, which Drewberry conducted pre-coronavirus in 2019.

Demand for Critical Illness Insurance saw the biggest rise, a percentage rate increase of 28% in just 2 years. Workers are also keen for employers to introduce other insurances — for example, demand for:

  • Group Income Protection saw a percentage rate increase of 14.7%
  • Death in Service Insurance saw a percentage rate increase of 12.1%
  • Business Health Insurance saw a percentage rate increase of 11.4%.

How Have Employers Responded?

47.4% of workers said their bosses had introduced some form of benefits since the outbreak of COVID-19. However, that means more than half haven’t done so at all.

Moreover, even where companies have introduced benefits, there’s often a mismatch between what workers want (e.g. insurance) and what employers provide.

For example, the top two benefits companies introduced since the pandemic are work from home flexibility (39.7% of companies) and flexible working hours (29.4% of companies). While these benefits are naturally popular among employees, they aren’t those which have seen the largest increase in demand over time. This title belongs to insurance protection.

Will Bosses Wake Up to Worker Demand?

Nadeem Farid, Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry, says: “Our survey shows employees clamouring for workplace insurance. This presents a major opportunity for the industry to get in front of employers and provide what their workforces want.

“While this may be trickier today given few businesses escaped financially unscathed from 2020 due to the pandemic, it’s still worth having those conversations, especially given how much demand exists.

“You may be able to guide clients to alternatives they may not have considered if the benefit they’re seeking isn’t currently financially viable, such as offering a Health Cash Plan instead of full Private Medical Insurance.

“It’s also worth highlighting that so many insurance policies today offer additional benefits, for example access to stress counselling, remote GP services, absence management and more. It’s important to point out to employers that their premiums often provide so much beyond the core protection.

“A final point is that group risk insurance, particularly Group Life Cover, is rarely as expensive as companies assume. Moreover, benefits are an investment in the workforce and in workplace satisfaction. Given our survey found that almost 1 in 4 workers said employee benefits were an important factor when looking to move jobs, they can be a vital tool to build and maintain a team. To attract and retain the best talent, can employers really afford to miss out?”

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