If you’re an entrepreneur, then your clients and business partners are likely to be your main focus when you start out. But as your venture grows into a fully operative business of scale, your employees will matter just as much.

If you’re an entrepreneur, then your clients and business partners are likely to be your main focus when you start out. But as your venture grows into a fully operative business of scale, your employees will matter just as much. That’s why it’s important to ensure you provide adequate employee benefits, and when it comes to group risk cover, it’s becoming increasingly important to find a solution that matches the needs of everyone in the business.

It’s no secret that the world of work is changing. Studies show that employees want customised benefit options based on their personal information and believe their employer is responsible for employees’ health and financial wellbeing[1]. In spite of these expectations, modern employees are unlikely to stay with the same employers for very long, because technology continues to create new opportunities.

It is within this context that it’s important for you, the business owner, to make your business as attractive as possible by offering your employees benefits that truly match their needs. Start by thinking of yourself as a custodian of their financial security. And in terms of group risk cover, the financial security not only lies in the cover itself, but in offering benefits that add real value to your employees’ financial planning – especially when you consider that it is your employees who are contributing towards their cover.

Why do you need group risk cover for your business?

Employers buy group risk cover for the people in the company to cover their future pay cheques in case something happens where they can’t work before they retire.

But this, unfortunately, is not the case with traditional group risk products, which typically offer blunt amounts of cover that is equal to, for example, three years of pay cheques for everyone in the company – irrespective of how many pay cheques they have left before retirement. As a result of this approach, younger people in the company have less cover compared to what they need, relative to their older colleagues who have fewer pay cheques left.

Traditional group risk products also offer very little flexibility, leaving employees with little, or no option to buy more cover above what employers secured. They also don’t offer a choice between lump-sum or recurring pay-outs when members claim, or always secure the ability to take their cover with them, should they decide to leave the company.

So how will you know you’ve selected the right cover?

Start by asking your financial adviser to look out for a product that offers claims certainty. It’s vital to obtain a clear picture of how claims are assessed and which the clinical conditions the group risk cover actually covers. Older products in the market rely on objective occupational criteria that may require ongoing reassessments in the case of permanent claims. There are new players in the market that provide transparent lists of clinical claims conditions, making it clear whether employees qualify for a pay-out. And exactly how permanent does the insurer view a claim for a permanent condition? For example, if an employee is to be diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, will he or she receive a 100% payout on diagnosis, without the prospect of ongoing reassessment? A needs-matched product offering would never require the reassessment of permanent expense needs claims.

Efficiency and affordability of cover is also key. Needs-matched group risk cover works out how many pay cheques each employee needs to cover, and then gives every person in the company the same level of cover in proportion to the amount of pay cheques left until retirement. By following this approach, your employees’ cover will provide more people in the company with much more cover. There already are forward-thinking group risk cover providers in the market that manage to offer up to 40% more cover by following this approach.

Thirdly, ask your financial adviser if your employees will be able to buy more cover over and above what you secured. There are innovative products on the market that offer up to double the cover free of underwriting, which enables your employees to benefit from the insurability you’re providing them, and to close gaps in their insurance. And – in the spirit of the modern world of work with a more mobile workforce – these innovative products enable employees to take the cover with them when they decide to leave your company.

It’s also important to ask your financial adviser if your employees will be able to choose between a lump sum and recurring pay-outs when they claim. Traditional group risk policies tend to expect employers to make one choice between lump sum or recurring payouts on behalf of all of their employees when they take out the cover. Forward thinking cover providers have turned this approach on its head, offering employees the option to choose between recurring or lump sum payouts when they claim.

In conclusion …

You wouldn’t expect your employees to work under dangerous conditions. So why would you select a group risk product that will not serve in their best interests when they need it most? That’s where needs-matched group risk cover comes to the rescue – not only for your employees, but also for your business by providing security and benefits offering real value in the modern world of work.

  • Schalk Malan is the CEO of BrightRock, provider of the first ever needs-matched life insurance that changes as your life changes.
  • Go to www.brightrock.co.za/group-risk-cover for more information about needs-matched group risk cover for your employees.



[1] “A new world of work: Employee benefits redefined”, MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study

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