Aviva enhances the support available to its group income protection customers

Article date: 13 December 2010

Aviva UK Health today announces a series of enhancements to its group income protection (GIP) product. These include the introduction of a new escalation rate which will see payments measured against the Retail Price Index. These payments will be capped at 2.5%. In addition, new customers taking out GIP will now benefit from an employee assistance programme (EAP) and 24-hour GP helpline for no additional cost. Existing customers will pick the benefits up at their next renewal.

Earlier this year research from Aviva UK Health revealed that almost one in four businesses (23%) claim recent economically difficult times have taken a lasting toll on employee stress levels1. This product enhancement means that employees can now access confidential support services 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year as part of their Aviva group income protection cover.

Services include:

  • Stress counselling helpline - giving employees support from counselling professionals at any time of the day or night.
  • Bereavement helpline - offering additional support to relatives and partners of GIP customers who have passed away. The helpline can also be used by GIP customers who have suffered bereavement themselves. The 24-hour confidential helpline is staffed by qualified bereavement counsellors able to offer emotional support as well as practical advice on issues such as probate.
  • Legal helpline - access to legal advice on any issue - from buying a house to consumer rights - from a qualified expert.
  • GP helpline - offering employees and their families expert medical advice whenever they need it, with no time limit on the call.

Employers also have the option to extend the support available to their employees by choosing to upgrade their cover. The following options can be chosen:

  • Extended EAP - including additional debt management and online information services for employees and managers
  • Full EAP - offering all the above services and up to six face-to-face counselling sessions.

Cover can also be extended to all employees in the company, rather than just those covered on the GIP product. An additional charge applies to these options.

Steve Bridger, head of group risk at Aviva UK Health says; “Individuals can be affected by all manner of problems from personal factors to pressure of work but stress is extremely hard to tackle as people often mask the symptoms until it’s too late. The good news is that early identification and treatment of stress-related conditions through group income protection and employee assistance programmes is possible and has extremely positive results. This means that recovery times, and therefore absence lengths can be significantly controlled.

“These enhancements to our employee assistance offering to our GIP policies gives employees access to confidential advice and support whenever they need it. It’s not just about prevention too. Sometimes employees just need impartial advice to help them through life’s ups and downs. Our employee assistance programme offers them just that.

”In addition to this, our recent research shows that nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers think that NHS appointments are always rushed.2 With our 24-hour GP helpline, employees have the reassurance that they can speak to a doctor for as long as they like. Moreover, by giving employees access to a 24-hour telephone helpline, we’re helping to control the time they spend away from the office. This in turn helps employers reduce the staggering 38 million working hours estimated to be lost because employees have to visit their GP in working hours.”3

Recent figures from the CBI suggest that absence in the UK is at its lowest level since 1987, with the average rate of absence during 2009 at 6.4 days per employee, down from 6.7 days in 20073. Improved absence management procedures and increased use of occupational health services is thought to have contributed to this reduction.

Aviva’s “Early Intervention Prevention Study” conducted earlier this year supports this view, with almost one in four (24%) employers recording low absence rates saying that this was due to their efforts to manage stress.1

The introduction of these new services and ability to complement them with occupational health and health insurance provision means that Aviva now offers its group income protection customers some of the most extensive preventative and rehabilitation support in the market.

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If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Amber Chable : Aviva Press Office 
Telephone: 02380 378131
E-mail: amber.chable@aviva.co.uk

1 Lightspeed Research surveyed 500 employers and 1,000 employees on behalf of Aviva. Fieldwork was undertaken in January 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted.

2 Redshift research surveyed 2696 18-65 year olds on behalf of Aviva on 6-8 April 2010.

3 Just what the patient ordered: better GP services, CBI September 2007.

Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 2009 Absence Survey showed that just under one third of employers questioned in the study, say that medical appointments are a main cause of absence. The CBI estimates that businesses lose a staggering 38 million working hours - costing £1 billion a year.

According to the same study, long-term absences still account for more than a fifth of total working time lost, costing the UK economy £3.7 billion. Mental health issues and back pain continue to rate highly amongst the main causes of long term absence.

Aviva’s employee assistance programme is provided by PPC worldwide, one of the leading providers of employee assistance programmes in the UK.


Notes to editors:

Aviva is one of the world's largest insurance groups* with 53 million customers worldwide and 46,000 employees.

Aviva’s main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion*.

In the UK, Aviva takes care of its 19.2 million customers by helping them look after their future, protecting what’s important – from their health to their homes, their cars to their business – and saving for the future.

Aviva has a 10.5%** share of the UK life and pensions market and insures one in six homes and one in 10 cars in the UK. It is also one of the oldest UK insurers, with a heritage stretching back more than 300 years.

RAC, which is owned by Aviva, provides breakdown and insurance services for individuals and businesses and has around seven million customers.

Aviva is carbon neutral worldwide, and is ranked in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally by the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In the UK, Aviva invested £3.8 million into local communities in 2009. Read our corporate responsibility report at www.aviva.com/cr.

Aviva’s global Street to School programme is working in partnership with Railway Children in the UK to get children living on the streets back into education and everyday life. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.

The Aviva media centre at www.aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.

For broadcast-standard video, please visit www.aviva.com/media/video.

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* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009
** Source: ABI data released August 2010

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