Most have not experienced long-term sickness absence
Most people would not pay more than £5 a week for income protection (IP), suggests a new survey from the Association of British Insurers.
This month, the organisation’s quarterly consumer survey focuses on absence from work and access to rehabilitation. The findings highlight the challenges facing the protection industry in a country where just 11% of the workforce is currently covered by IP.
While 89% of survey respondents said they would pay less than £5 a week for IP, 29% said they would not be prepared to pay anything at all.
This finding may be linked to the fact that most people have not experienced long-term sickness absence. Of the 1,658 people surveyed (all working at least eight hours a week), 82% had never been absent from work for more than three months as a result of sickness or injury. Fifteen per cent had been, or currently are, absent for this period of time, most of whom (77%) have received NHS treatment.
According to IP provider Unum, 11% of people have taken more than six months off work through illness or injury. Its Backup Plan consumer education campaign is alerting people to this fact, and warning that most employers will not pay absent employees beyond the statutory sick pay timeframe of 28 weeks. Forty per cent of ABI respondents thought that they would receive pay for six months or more if absent through sickness, whilst 26% were unsure.
The ABI survey suggests that employees who believe their employer is less generous with sick pay are more willing to pay more for IP, as are those earning higher salaries. Among those earning more than £40,000 a year, 31% were willing to pay over £5 a week for IP, compared to just 7% of those earning less than £20,000 a year.
Consumers may be able to purchase IP for £5 a week, if they accept a long deferral period.
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