Auto-enrolment could trigger renewed interest in group protection benefits, survey suggests

Employee benefits in general could receive shot in the arm

The imminent introduction of pensions auto-enrolment could trigger increased investment in group risk benefits, according to research published today.

A survey carried out for Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body for the group risk industry, shows that employers are considering introducing more employee benefits as a whole, too, when auto-enrolment comes into effect.

The study of more than 500 employers found that more than two of them (41%) are looking to increase the value of their benefits package during 2012, compared to just 16% of employers who decided to add to the value of their benefits package over the past twelve months.

More than half of the companies surveyed who do not currently offer group protection benefits said they would consider introducing them. Fifty three per cent of companies which do not offer group risk benefits would consider introducing group life Insurance, 68% would think about introducing group income protection and 78% would consider initiating group critical illness alongside auto-enrolment.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said that employers would be facing the introduction of auto-enrolment with “varying degrees of confidence or trepidation”.

She added: “It is very positive to see that employers are considering further investment in their benefits package alongside auto-enrolment and specifically that they are acknowledging the major role protection benefits can play in managing absence and fostering employee wellbeing.”

Almost a fifth (19%) of employers said they were planning to work with staff to ensure they were properly provided for in the face of public service cuts.  A further 12% said they would be more likely to increase benefits in light of Government policy, while 29% said they may look at their benefit packages in the near future.

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