United Kingdom

Free absence management services underutilised

June 2015


UK businesses are failing to make use of value-added benefit add-ons, worth up to £100 per employee, multinational insurance company Aviva have said.

The free benefit additions, part of absence management services, are offered by many group income protection providers including Aviva. But Julian Nurse, corporate claims account and technical manager at Aviva said during a WSB Tackling Sickness Absence webinar that such add-ons were ‘totally underused’ by employers:

“They are free, as part of the package of having that provision, and they are hugely underutilised,” he said.

According to Nurse, the issue was somewhat due to the lack of promotion on the part of the providers as well as within businesses themselves. “Even when you do talk to employers about the services, then the challenge is getting that broadly communicated within the corporate world and penetrating the wider population within an employer and on the employee side. And if you don’t promote it, it’s going to be underused,” he added.

Jeff Fox, Senior Benefit Consultant at Aon Employee Benefits commented: “In these times of budgetary restraint and cost control, it seems bizarre that important services provided at no cost are not deployed more fully.”

Following analysis by Canada Life around the overall value of such add-ons, Canada Life’s Marketing Director Paul Avis revealed that for employers to purchase the free add-ons direct from suppliers, the cost would be around £100 per employee.

Speaking during the webinar, Avis explained that Canada Life had launched an early intervention service as part of their absence management offering in 2014 available to around 380,000 employees and 4,500 employers, but just a third of the capacity was actually used.

“If it costs nothing and it is of good quality, I can’t understand why every employer isn’t using our absence manager services on every absence of more than two weeks.”

Fox added: “Businesses utilising these type of benefits should check what they currently have in place and ensure they fully maximise any additional services. At Aon, we have encountered situations where an organisation is paying for a service that they actually receive free elsewhere!”



Aon Consulting Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.