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Last updated: 7 May 2021
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Wellbeing benefits now included with group insurance policies – find out how you can take advantage

Employee health and wellbeing is an important consideration for many employers, especially given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but providing support can be costly. Fortunately the market has developed and wellbeing benefits are now bundled within group insurance policies.
The challenge with wellbeing benefits

The challenge with wellbeing benefits for smaller organisations

We know many small and medium employers would like to offer a more comprehensive range of employee benefits, but may face challenges (in addition to the extra cost), working under pressure to utilise resources effectively to achieve their goals.

There’s a practical problem that can result from the size of the organisation; with a small employee group, the likelihood of achieving a sufficiently high level of interest or take-up for a given benefit tends to reduce as the range of benefits increases and as such finding the right balance between support for your dedicated workforce, and investing in your organisation’s future goals can be tricky.  Consequently, many organisations generally opt to provide a pension (which is a legal requirement) and life and medical insurances, as these are valuable to most employees, if not all.  

Where employers offer benefits beyond this, it can often be on a voluntary basis (i.e. the employer arranges the contract, and the employee pays their own cost). However employers still need to take into account the administration of payroll deductions and the ongoing management. Additionally, these benefits may be difficult to remove in the future, even if they have a very low or zero take-up. 

If you’ve experienced these issues in your organisation or are simply looking to further support your employees, recent developments in the group risk and health insurance market may be good news for you.

A number of group risk and health insurance providers now offer inclusive wellbeing benefits within their core policies, a move which allows employers to enhance the support available to their employees without creating additional administration, and at no extra cost. 

While as an employer you can’t avoid paying for your core benefits, if you offer a combination of life insurance, income protection and medical cover, you’re ideally placed to take advantage of the current market trend. 

Depending on your current insurer, you may be able to meet more of your employees’ wellbeing needs and offer them benefits like wearable technology and online health support. From our own client discussions, we know employees appreciate having access to an online doctor and an employee assistance programme during the lockdown period. We also believe that this will become increasingly valuable as employees work more flexibly in the future.

About the author

Paul Nelson

+44 (0)20 7556 1355
NelsonP@buzzacott.co.uk

The challenge with wellbeing benefits for smaller organisations

We know many small and medium employers would like to offer a more comprehensive range of employee benefits, but may face challenges (in addition to the extra cost), working under pressure to utilise resources effectively to achieve their goals.

There’s a practical problem that can result from the size of the organisation; with a small employee group, the likelihood of achieving a sufficiently high level of interest or take-up for a given benefit tends to reduce as the range of benefits increases and as such finding the right balance between support for your dedicated workforce, and investing in your organisation’s future goals can be tricky.  Consequently, many organisations generally opt to provide a pension (which is a legal requirement) and life and medical insurances, as these are valuable to most employees, if not all.  

Where employers offer benefits beyond this, it can often be on a voluntary basis (i.e. the employer arranges the contract, and the employee pays their own cost). However employers still need to take into account the administration of payroll deductions and the ongoing management. Additionally, these benefits may be difficult to remove in the future, even if they have a very low or zero take-up. 

If you’ve experienced these issues in your organisation or are simply looking to further support your employees, recent developments in the group risk and health insurance market may be good news for you.

A number of group risk and health insurance providers now offer inclusive wellbeing benefits within their core policies, a move which allows employers to enhance the support available to their employees without creating additional administration, and at no extra cost. 

While as an employer you can’t avoid paying for your core benefits, if you offer a combination of life insurance, income protection and medical cover, you’re ideally placed to take advantage of the current market trend. 

Depending on your current insurer, you may be able to meet more of your employees’ wellbeing needs and offer them benefits like wearable technology and online health support. From our own client discussions, we know employees appreciate having access to an online doctor and an employee assistance programme during the lockdown period. We also believe that this will become increasingly valuable as employees work more flexibly in the future.

Which policies include wellbeing benefits?

Which policies include wellbeing benefits?

Wellbeing benefits are available within the core policies, which are the group life, income protection, critical illness and private medical policies, offered by some insurance providers. Typically, they’re included as non-contractual components at no extra cost, and many can be extended to family members. The providers that include these ‘added value’ benefits have differing propositions. The range of inclusive components tends to be limited with group life insurance plans, and far wider with group private medical policies. Some of the private medical insurers also offer the contractual option to add optical, dental and travel insurance to their plans at an additional cost. 

This market is fairly dynamic and the providers can change or upgrade their propositions. So, if you’re considering any of these core benefits, it is worth requesting details of the inclusive benefits from the provider(s) or your adviser. 

Which benefits are available?

Which inclusive wellbeing benefits are available?  

For example, the table below shows the additional benefits that are available by selecting certain providers for group life, group income protection, and group private medical insurance (these core policies are shown in bold).

Purpose Wellbeing benefits
Education and prevention Retail discounts and incentives Get fit programme Diet and nutrition plans Smoking cessation TV workout subscriptions
Employee assistance programme Healthy food discounts Gym discounts Mindfulness apps Fitness apps, and fitness devices

Detection and early intervention

Online health check Online doctor Stress and burnout counselling Mental health support Pregnancy support
Online GP referral to PMI Physiotherapy Health check blood tests by post Health screening Optical cover (costed)
Access to treatment Private Medical Insurance (PMI) Medical second opinion from global experts Prescriptions and delivery Travel medical cover (costed) Dental cover (costed)
Long-term support Income protection Life Insurance Rehabilitation and return to work support Probate support Bereavement counselling


If you’re unsure about what may be available to you, contact your insurer or adviser and ask them for details of the inclusive benefits. You may be surprised by the support that’s already included. Similarly, when it comes to the policy renewal, obtain quotes from the market, or use an adviser, and assess the wellbeing support within your review.

How to engage employees once you’ve chosen your provider(s)

How to engage employees once you’ve chosen your provider(s)

Communicating these benefits to your employees is key to improving engagement. You don’t necessarily need a complex framework in place to support employees if you don’t have the means to do so. You may want to adopt an approach which groups the benefits by their purpose, and includes your own internal wellbeing policies e.g. flexible working, holiday, enhanced parental leave, volunteering days, training and development, social events, etc. 

In our experience, when employers recognise what is available to support their workforce, and communicate these benefits effectively, the result can be a comprehensive wellbeing programme with far greater appeal to employees than the core life and medical insurances alone.

Speak to an expert
Speak to an expert

If you want to quickly find out more about these benefits and what may be available to your employees then please fill in the form below or contact Paul Nelson in our team. We can help you improve the support you offer and enhance employee engagement with your benefits.

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