There are lots of different things businesses offer to their employees by way of benefits. One that is commonly offered is critical illness cover. Here, we look at what that is, and why it can be a good idea for business owners to consider having it.

What is critical illness cover?

Critical illness cover is designed to give a pay-out to an employee who is diagnosed with a serious illness. It can be used in any way the employee wants, whether it is to cover things like hospice care, taking care of expenses related to their treatment (such as private medical bills or travel to an NHS hospital further away from where they live for treatment), or other supplementary things they may need, like extra childcare while they are in treatment. It is simply a lump sum that is paid out on diagnosis that the employee can use to help them in their difficult time.

Critical illness payments are typically paid out around 14 days after diagnosis, if the employee survives that period. If the employee dies of their illness, other benefits like death in service pay-outs would come into play instead.

The idea of critical illness payments is to help an employee who may well be able to get better and come back to work.  It helps them get through their treatment with some financial assistance for the costs that having a serious illness can cause and eases the burden on them and their families. When dealing with an illness like cancer, for example, someone may have a good chance to make a recovery but will incur costs even with NHS treatment and may need extra assistance to take care of their family. All of this is something that critical illness cover aims to help with.

Benefits of having critical illness cover in your company’s benefits package

The benefit to a healthy employee of having access to critical illness cover is that they have the assurance that if they do get a serious medical condition they will have some financial aid from their employer. But it also says that as an employer, you care about the wellbeing of your staff. For a lot of people who develop serious illnesses, how much stress they are under can have a big impact on how quickly they can recover and how tough the time they are recovering will be on them. By having a pay-out that removes some of the financial strain, you can show that you want your people to get better if they get sick and will do what you can to help.

This helps your business in two ways. First of all, it offers a very appealing benefit that can help you attract and retain good staff. Secondly, it makes sure your employees feel safe and know that you are a good business to work for.

How is critical illness cover provided?

Critical illness cover is not something you pay out yourself, but something that comes from an insurer. You take out group critical illness cover as a business and are then able to offer it to your employees. You then make the claim for them, or they make it themselves when they receive a diagnosis, depending on your business structure.

To be able to offer critical illness cover, you need to talk to a business insurer. This can also be the same company you use for other benefits in your package like a death in service benefit. Check out a company that offers a range of business insurance services in the UK to find out more about the different things you may want to consider.

As with anything else you include as a company benefit, there will be some admin involved in registering people who join the company, however this is generally quite simple and is something you can do with your employee even if you don’t have dedicated HR staff. It is generally just a case of filling out some online forms.

Many businesses who take out group critical illness cover never have to make a claim on it. However, it gives them the peace of mind that they can help any employee unable to work for a while because of an unfortunate serious health problem get better as quickly as possible and return to the workforce. It also serves as a very appealing benefit for the staff considering joining your company and possibly comparing your package with other firms they may have offers from.

All in all, even for small businesses, it is good to know about critical illness cover and its benefits as something you can offer to your staff. It is also something that could really help someone who has become an important part of your team if they ever have to face a crisis in health.