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Group Critical Illness

What is Group Critical Illness cover?

Company Critical Illness insurance protects employees should they be diagnosed with a serious health condition covered by the policy. It usually includes conditions such as: cancer, heart problems and strokes. However, what’s included will vary depending on the individual policy.

How does Group Critical Illness cover work?

If an employee is diagnosed with one of the eligible conditions, they are paid a tax-free lump sum which they can spend however they choose. The agreed payout could be a multiple of the employees’ salary (for example, between one and five times their annual earnings) or a specified fixed amount.

This lump sum pay-out could be used to take time off from work, pay for treatment, enjoy an overseas trip or make adjustments to their residential setting to better manage their recovery.

Group Critical Illness:

  • Can be classed as a business expense
  • Cannot be classed as a Benefit in Kind (P11d)
  • Can provide life cover for employees who have might have been declined individually  

What does Group Critical Illness cover?

These conditions are typically covered within Group Critical Illness policies (note: inclusions will vary depending on the individual agreed policy):

Meanwhile, pre-existing conditions and self-inflicted injuries will not be included.

Is Group Critical Illness worth it?

The truth is that more and more people are suffering with critical illnesses such as cancer, heart issues and strokes, and the results for an employee can be emotionally and financially devastating.

It’s estimated that the average British adult could only continue to pay their bills for between one and three months if they were unable to work. Meanwhile a survey by Yorkshire Building Society revealed that six in ten workers do not have enough money saved up to pay unexpected bills.

Group Critical Illness offers employees a vital safety net if the worst were to happen. It means that employers can reassure their workforce (and their families) that they will be supported in such a situation.

Providing Critical Illness cover will also help attract and retain quality staff and shows a true commitment to their health and financial wellbeing. At a time of rising health anxiety, it will likely be more appreciated than ever before.

It’s also worth mentioning that Group Critical is one of the more affordable protection policies that you can provide employees.

How much does Group Critical Illness cost?

As with any kind of insurance, costs will vary depending on the level coverage you choose to provide and the health profile of your workforce.

Some of the key factors affecting price include:

Each of these factors affects the cost of your insurance premium. To get an accurate quote, it’s best to work with an independent insurance broker, like Engage, as we work across the whole insurance industry to present a range of competitive quotes tailored to your business.

“Great service and efficient. We also got a better price than going direct to the insurance provider!”

How do businesses find the best deal on Critical Illness Cover?

The most competitive deals on Critical Illness Cover are found via specialist health insurance brokers, such as Engage. This is because we’re experienced in ‘playing the market’ and negotiating deals better than can be found by going direct to the insurer.

Ultimately, we have pre-existing relationships with all the major insurance providers and they are keen to attract repeat business. Hence, they will offer superior quotes than they would to a standalone client.

Of course, the business value of professional advice should not be overlooked. As an expert insurance broker, we take the time to properly understand the needs of your business. Our raison d’être is to help you rather than sell products.

The value of an insurance consultant goes beyond finding competitive quotes. A good broker can also help set-up and manage the insurance policy for you, taking away the stress and uncertainty that too often comes attached with a policy. Making a claim shouldn’t be difficult and understanding how a policy works shouldn’t be stressful. We prove it doesn’t have to be.

To find the best Critical Illness Insurance deal, and draw the most value from it, contact the team at Engage on +44 (0)1273 974419. We’ll also help advise on all your other employee benefits & health insurance needs.

Who are the main Group Critical Illness Insurance providers?

All the main insurance providers offer Group Critical Illness Insurance and, as with Group Income Protection, they often include some form of employee support designed to provide practical health support to workers.

The main UK insurance providers offering Group Critical Illness include:

“Our Group Critical Illness customers automatically have access to a range of support services whenever they’re needed.”

“With critical illness insurance, MetLife helps you and your family have the financial stability necessary to focus on healing during a difficult time.”

“We’ll make a tax-free payment to your employee if they’re diagnosed with a serious illness or condition covered by the policy. With our cover, your employees can focus on getting better without worrying about their household or medical bills.”

“We automatically cover your employees' children and help if they're diagnosed with a specified critical illness or one of the child-specific conditions covered in our policy.”

“Our game-changing approach to group critical illness cover gives employees a tax-free sum of money if they fall seriously ill and are diagnosed with a specified condition. It’s new, it’s innovative, it’s not like what you’ve seen before.”

“We’ll make a tax-free payment to your employee if they’re diagnosed with a serious illness or condition covered by the policy. With our cover, your employees can focus on getting better without worrying about their household or medical bills.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Group Critical Illness a benefit in kind?

Yes, your employee will need to pay tax on the value of the premium the business has paid for on their behalf. HMRC will alter the tax code to reduce their tax-free personal allowance – the reduction will be the equivalent of the value of the premium the business is paying for them.

Will income tax be due on a policy payout?

No. The amount is received as a tax-free lump sum.

Can businesses claim Group Illness Cover as a business expense?

Yes, it is considered a business expense which the business can claim back against Corporation Tax.

Does Company Critical Illness pay out immediately?

No – most insurers would require a member to survive for a period of 14 days following diagnosis in order to make an eligible claim. This is known as a survival period.

How many conditions are covered under Group Critical Illness insurance?

Most insurers operate two levels of cover (Basic/Standard and Extra/Extended), however, most employers opt for the higher of the two levels. Base cover usually covers between 13-15 conditions and Extra/Extended typically adds another 24-26 conditions on top of the Base/Standard plan.

Does Group Critical Illness cover pre-existing conditions?

Standard Group Critical Illness plans do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. However, for larger businesses it is possible to provide an element of pre-existing condition cover. Whilst members couldn’t join a scheme and be covered of a condition they are currently suffering with (eg heart attack), once they are clear and recovered from that condition, they would be covered should it occur again.

Is it possible to include cover for the partners and children of employees?

Yes – cover can be extended to both partners and children.

What kinds of support services are available with Group Critical Illness cover?

As insurers look to provide more value than ever, there is an increasing number of support services which employees can access for free. These can include;


  • Employee Assistance Programmes
  • Second opinion services
  • Cancer support
  • Support helplines for long-term health conditions such as heart, stroke, stress and anxiety

Do I need both Income Protection and Critical Illness Cover?

Potentially, as they cater for different scenarios. While Income Protection provides for a wider scope of injuries and illnesses, Critical Illness Cover pays out a single lump sum if an employee is diagnosed with, or has surgery for, a specified, potentially life-threatening illness.

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