New service to help companies optimise the effectiveness of employee benefits (14/08/2012)

Businesses will be better placed to maximise return on investment in employee benefits thanks to a new service run by nurses and administration experts.

Advocate is an innovative insurance claims administration and management service from PMI Health Group, the UK’s largest independently-owned provider of employee health risk management.

Regular reports on how different health and group risk policies are being used by employees will be provided to companies – including details of high claims – to help them effectively coordinate their reward and benefit programmes.

Advocate will also oversee time-consuming membership changes and the claims management of benefit schemes, while providing a confidential health advice and support helpline for employees.

“By monitoring benefit usage, such as the number and effectiveness of physiotherapy sessions, companies can ensure health and benefits programmes are meeting their strategic goals – whether cutting sickness absence levels or improving staff productivity,” said PMI Health Group Operations Director Rachael Floyd.

“We have provided nurse-led claims management for a number of years but Advocate extends our service offering and makes it a more affordable and compelling option for smaller businesses.”

Advocate is being offered to businesses with four different levels of service, covering both single and multi-product provision.

Insurance solution needed to improve employee healthcare (31/07/2012)

More businesses would provide health cover for employees if insurers devised a cost-effective alternative to current group medical schemes.

According to research commissioned by PMI Health Group, three-quarters of UK firms would fund medical insurance for more employees if a viable, scaled-back product were made available.

In a bid to tackle the £15bn cost of sickness absence, the government recently called on employers to take more responsibility for employee healthcare – but all those questioned believe there is an onus on insurers to develop a lower-cost alternative to private medical insurance (PMI).

“Clearly there is a groundswell of opinion among employers suggesting large-scale introduction of PMI is simply not viable at the current price,” said PMI Health Group Director Mike Blake.

“Increasing budgetary pressures created by the economic downturn mean it has become more difficult than ever before for businesses to justify significant outlay on benefits packages for employees.

“As a result, there is a growing demand for a revised medical scheme, which can still meet employee healthcare needs and business goals, such as tackling sickness absence. The challenge is on for for insurers to widen the avenues available to employers.”

Three-quarters of employers questioned by PMI Health Group believe a new PMI product would need to cost less than £300 per head in order to make it viable, while less than 13 per cent said they would not fund cover for employees at all.

The research also discovered a company pension is the most requested benefit among 53 per cent of businesses, followed by medical insurance (25 per cent) and cash plans (six per cent).

“There are still options available for businesses seeking benefits which are low cost but offer a high perceived value,” added Mike.

“However, some new plans have been launched at a lower price point and we would anticipate other insurers following suit with further innovative products.”