12 August 2021

Protect - Protection Review rating: Gold, Adviser score 8.0

In partnership with FinTech firm Salary Finance, Legal & General Insurance has launched Protect, a mobile-first, group risk insurance solution which the insurer says will revolutionise employee engagement.

Aimed at businesses with 500+ employees, Protect is based around the kind of digital experience employees are used to in their day-to-day lives. The insurer says it offers an engaging solution that responds to unmet needs, extending group life cover, income protection and critical illness cover to entire workforces at no extra cost for the employer.

Employees can dial up and dial down cover across the three protection products, allowing a level of personalisation in a way the insurer believes cannot be found anywhere else in the market. This change in approach for group protection aims to make it more individual and to increase engagement with the benefits offered through the employer.

L&G says the plan is part of its mission to reimagine group protection, in partnership with intermediaries, to elevate the conversation beyond product and price to outcomes.

Through Protect, employees can gain quick and easy access to the three group risk covers on either an employer-paid or voluntary basis. Voluntary income protection is unique in the group market L&G says.

Employers can offer a core level of cover paid for by the employer, with competitively priced cover top-ups. Cover can be adjusted 24/7, 365 days a year, with no tie-ins and no need to wait for a once-a-year window to make changes. L&G says its approach allows firms to offer a core level of cover to all employees just by being more canny with their existing spend.

There are no pre-existing condition exclusions on CI cover with upfront digital medical underwriting, and cover can be arranged in minutes, with instant decisions and generally no medicals required.

Setting up a Protect solution incurs no cost for employers. HR communication support and a comms toolkit is also included to help encourage employee engagement (a key point as only 1 in 10 employees has group I cov3er fo5r example), and to help them understand how they can use the embedded mental health and wellbeing support services.

L&G has suggested various scenarios where Protect could help employers achieve more at no extra cost including:

Where employers have an existing budget for life cover and want to offer IP, but feel the cost is prohibitive, Protect can offer voluntary IP and CI cover alongside life cover.

Where employers already offer a core level of cover - perhaps through an existing Flex scheme - and want to introduce more choice, flexibility and personalisation for all employees.

Employers looking to reallocate existing spend away from any benefits that are assessed as not delivering value for money, in terms of employee wellbeing, engagement and absence management.

Comment: L&G has taken its existing three group risk plans and wrapped them up in a package to appeal not just to employers, but also to today’s app-savvy employees. A major benefit too is voluntary IP cover – which L&G says is unique.

The key here is enabling people to buy the cover they want or to top up existing cover, easily and understandably. Employees can also change cover when they want, rather than only at times dictated by the insurer or their employer.  It also helps improve employee engagement – a big issue in the group risk sector.

We talk a lot in our industry about how complex our products are yet, as firms like Apple have shown consistently, if you can make the very complex appear to be simple, people will beat a path to your door. It’s a good concept and should prove popular.

Research by GRiD in 2019 found that mid sized employers (250+ employees) spent almost £2,000 a year on perks such as celebrations and vouchers (I bet the figure was lower in 2020…). Post-Covid perhaps more firms should now take advantage of plans like Protect to provide good core protection benefits to all their employees. Allowing them to top-up cover through a voluntary plan too also makes sense and could save them and their employees (who get the benefit of lower, group rates)  money.

Plus points: App-based group risk package; Designed for app literate employees; L&G says Protect enables companies to offer a core level of employer-paid cover for all employees simply by rearranging their existing spend;  Excellent flexibility upfront and to meet changing needs; Voluntary group IP is a first and enables employees to top-up; 24/7 benefit flexibility; Comms toolkit to help get across the benefits.

Not so plus points: Not every employee is app savvy (although the comms toolkit can help overcome that); Only 1 in 10 employees has group IP so the persuasion to buy task is a big one; Risk that some employers use this to cut their spend.