Severn Trent Water ensures that all members of its workforce have an comprehensive group risk package to protect themselves or their family in difficult circumstances.
As part of their core package, employees at the water company receive up to six times salary life insurance, accident insurance and group income protection (GIP) cover for five years at 50% of salary.
Joe Carter, HR manager at Severn Trent, says: “People don’t always value [these benefits] because they are not things they need straightaway, and hopefully they won’t need them at all. But we find that when people do need them, it provides a really valuable benefit.”
With regards to life insurance, Carter explains that if an employee passes away in service, members of the HR team and the individual’s line manager will visit the next of kin to explain the support that is provided through the benefit.
In addition, Severn Trent offers staff the option to sign up to critical illness insurance and health cash plans as voluntary benefits.
To make sure its 7,000 employees are fully aware of the support that is available to them, the benefits are communicated as soon as someone joins the organisation. “For us, the level of benefits we offer is a big selling point to people,” explains Carter. “We do that when people start their induction, and for apprentices and graduates too, but also the more experienced people joining us.”
The organisation also runs group risk benefits promotions through its HR intranet, periodic communications, and through its total reward statements, not just at the annual benefits enrolment window. This helps to inform employees about the money they can save on things like life insurance when they get a mortgage for the first time.
It is also essential, say Carter, to highlight the additional benefits that group risk products can offer to staff, to ensure they know all the avenues of support that are available to them through their employer. Severn Trent changed its life insurance provider in April 2021 to Yulife, which includes add-on benefits such as a will writing service and a 24/7 virtual GP service. “When we looked at [a virtual GP service] before, it actually was quite costly to just implement that on its own,” explains Carter. “But it comes with the life insurance package that we’ve got, and that’s been a great benefit for people at a time where health is probably more important.”
Although the nature of group risk benefits means not all employees will be in a situation to use the products, Severn Trent always highlights the importance.
“When colleagues find out what we offer through our various awareness campaigns or if they see their colleagues using them, it really brings home the value to them,” says Carter. “It is a really paternalistic business that looks after its employees, and these insurances really help us look after people when they’re in difficult situations.”