Data released by global reinsurer Swiss Re has shown an increase in the number of people protected by employer-sponsored group risk policies.

The company’s annual Group Watch survey revealed that in 2017 nearly 12.5 million people were covered by group critical illness, long term disability income (group income protection) and death in service (group life insurance) policies.

The insurer’s research found a total increase of some 3.1% – some 378,062 people – in membership of group risk insurance schemes provided through their employers.

Most popular group risk insurance

Breaking down those figures, group income protection showed the biggest increase. Here membership grew by 5% to cover over 2.4 million people.

Death in service policies rose by 3% with nearly 9.5 million people protected by group life insurance.

A 2.5% fall in the numbers of those benefiting from critical illness insurance was attributed to one large scheme being arranged by an insurer which did not contribute to the research. Nonetheless nearly 572,000 were protected and total market premium breached the £100 million mark for the first time.


To produce its Group Watch report,  Swiss Re surveyed 18 group risk product providers, 18 employee benefits consultancies and an independent consultant.

“Overall, the numbers are encouraging, in particular the positive long-term disability income numbers where after many years of slow decline in policy numbers, the data showed an upturn, both in policies in force and people covered,”  Ron Wheatcroft, author of the report and Swiss Re’s technical manager.

He added that growth was spread across the market: “This increase was evenly spread across a range of policy sizes.

“It’s been another positive year for the group risk industry, showing growth of in force benefits across all three group risk products and nearly 380,000 more people protected against financial loss via group risk insurance during 2017.

‘A financial lifeline to families’

The findings were also welcomed by Katherine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD), the group industry trade body.

“Group risk benefits throw a financial lifeline to families when they need it most and nobody should be without the means to protect their household’s financial position against unexpected death, disability, injury or illness,” she said.

“Employers play such an important role in facilitating affordable financial protection cover through the workplace but now, increasingly, Government is looking to employers to help meet its ambitions for a healthy and inclusive workforce too.

Group risk benefits can help deliver this through the inherent support services that group risk providers make available to employers, HR, line managers and employees for use on a daily basis.

“Indeed, enlightened employers of all sizes are seeing the value of group risk benefits, not only for financial resilience but also in helping to deliver on engagement, productivity, recruitment and retention.”


  • If you would like to discuss how your organisation might benefit from critical illness, income protection, death in serve (group life insurance) or dependants’ pension insurance, please call our group risk experts on 01254 504910.





Chase Templeton Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3299980 – registered address: 5 Arkwright Court, Blackburn Interchange, Darwen, BB3 0FG. Towergate Underwriting Group Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 4043759 – registered address: Towergate House Eclipse Park Sittingbourne Road Maidstone Kent ME14 3EN.  VAT Registration No: 447284724.