By Walter van der Merwe, CEO of Fedgroup Life
In the modern workplace employee benefits have become an essential tool to attract and retain the best staff. As such, many companies now offer comprehensive benefit packages that include group risk cover, wellness schemes, medical aid, income protection and retirement savings.
If managed correctly, these elements can deliver more tangible benefits to the business, offering more than just window dressing for an attractive salary package. Cover provided through group risk schemes will also assist in mitigating the high costs often associated with medical treatment for critical illnesses or the continued treatment for a disability.
If structured correctly group risk cover can offer an affordable combination of life cover, critical illness cover, and disability cover for employees, which should ensure that there are minimal financial shortfalls should the unforeseen arise.
Comprehensive group risk cover can ensure that, should an employee be unable to work due to injury or illness, they continue to receive income to sustain living, receive a lump sum payment to assist with other financial commitments, have the means to pay for continued medical treatment and medication, or even try experimental treatments that may not be covered by medical aids.
This can reduce the strain on an employee’s finances, which helps to reduce some of the stress experienced following a diagnosis of this nature, for both the employee and his or her immediate family. This means that an employer who provides comprehensive cover is able to materially impact the lives of their employees should a major life event affect them.
These benefits also have the potential to reduce the mortality and disability risk of employees. Any employer who historically has a healthier workforce could potentially benefit from a more favourable structuring of risk, which could deliver the same level of cover at a lower cost. In addition, comprehensive employee benefit packages that offer integrated risk benefits are also an excellent way to manage sickness and absenteeism, as well as avoid any unexpected and unplanned mortality and disability claims. This further improves employee productivity and efficiency, while reducing a company’s group risk profile, which all positively impacts on a company’s bottom line.
Importantly, employers need to invest in making employees aware of what they are entitled to through their employee benefits products. Frequently, when employees are dissatisfied with employee benefits provided by their employers, it is because these benefits are not fully understood. This can result in employees making less than optimal decisions about their finances in general and, if a competitor better educates potential candidates about benefits in place, they are well-positioned to scoop top talent.
Education on benefits provided is relatively simple and an easy way to garner loyalty among staff.
When choosing group risk benefits for employees, Fedgroup recommends bearing the following selection criteria in mind:
- The product provider should ascribe to simple and transparent benefit definitions
- Claims should be objectively assessed based on medical evidence
- The benefit payments should not be defined by severity levels
The chosen product, or suite of products, should insulate employees against the financial impact of unforeseen circumstances – which makes choosing the right group risk benefits for employees of critical importance to your bottom line, your employees’ financial wellbeing, and overall staff morale and retention.