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Group Insurance Schemes Become Part of Corporate Wellness Equation

08 March 2013 Mandy Barrett, Aon South Africa
Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa.

Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa.

Group Insurance schemes are increasingly becoming part of the overall corporate wellbeing equation, with more employers taking an active role in not only supporting their employees’ physical health, but their financial fitness too

This is according to Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa.

Aon South Africa is a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, human capital and management consulting and specialty insurance underwriting

“It all has to do with contributing towards the financial stability and peace of mind of employees, which, if neglected, can impact on their workplace performance,” explains Mandy.

“The reality is that South Africans are under tremendous financial pressure, exacerbated by fuel price hikes, water and electricity price increases, high education costs, the rapidly increasing price of food and basic necessities and so on. By adding a group insurance scheme to the host of other employee benefits such as retirement and healthcare, employers get to help remove or at least mitigate employees’ anxieties about protecting their personal motor and, household assets, usually with much lower premiums and better benefits than they could obtain on their own. Any efforts to reduce your employees’ financial strain is a welcome and much needed relief in the current environment, and adds a further attractive staff retention benefit to the usual retirement, healthcare, life and disability offerings,” says Mandy.

Obviously group insurance schemes are not the be-all-and-end-all solution for employees’ financial concerns, and they form part of a much bigger picture of employee benefits. But they do address some of the major financial anxieties among staff, by assuring them that their private assets are protected and will be replaced in the event of a loss. Being under-insured in the event of a total loss can have devastating financial consequences for them. This in turn will impact on their work performance and productivity if their personal finances are in upheaval.

“This peace of mind has to be seen as part of the overall wellness equation which includes physical, emotional and financial aspects. These benefits, along with other HR interventions obviously, are discernible for companies in lower staff churn, greater productivity and skills retention and in turn, better service delivered by a more stable and loyal employee base. Without a doubt such a comprehensive employee benefits offering complete with all the frills plays an important role in improving the marketability of a company as an ‘employer of choice’ among job seekers, which is a major asset in skills-starved South Africa,” she adds.

Given the fact that South Africans have high levels of debt and credit-worthiness issues, it's now a moot point whether employers can sustain the pace of increased workplace demands without more support for financially strapped employees. The question that HR professionals have to ask is whether the staff is thriving under the demands of today's fast paced changing business environment, or whether they are they struggling to cope against a backdrop of increased personal financial pressure where they may not be in proper control of their finances, debt and savings.

“The HR-related challenges in the current environment are huge and multi-faceted and require holistic solutions to generate stability and security amongst employees. For your employees to perform at their best, they need an integrated approach to their overall work and personal wellness, whether it’s health, financial, social, family or career.

"Given this scenario, it’s obvious that incentivising employees with a well-structured group insurance scheme within the context of a wellness programme can make a positive contribution to the bottom line. Being able to offer more benefits and greater cost-savings for employees on the road towards greater peace of mind and productivity is a win-win for all concerned. Given the direct and indirect savings in cost offered by group Insurance schemes, they are ultimately not only the more cost-effective choice for employees, but the rewards go far beyond what money can buy,” concludes Mandy.

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