News & Articles

Cancer and Group Risk Insurance

February 15, 2019

When you are creating an employee benefits package, it can be difficult to quantify the importance and impact of each benefit, and alter it from an abstract concept into a solid return on investment.

In this blog post we will discuss the importance of group risk insurance through the lens of statistics and the reality of the impact that cancer has on so many lives.

Treatment and Prevention

First, let’s take a look at the facts. Cancer will impact one in two of the UK population. It comes in more than 200 different types with a new diagnosis being made nearly every two minutes.

But research from Cancer Research UK shows that, as of 2015, more than a third (38%) of cancer cases are preventable.

While much of the focus on working towards a world without cancer naturally relies on medical research and scientific advancements, the lifestyle aspect cannot be underestimated when it comes to prevention.

It is absolutely crucial for employers to understand their role and influence in helping employees to eliminate harmful lifestyle and social habits that can contribute to a cancer diagnosis.

Helping your team to establish a healthy lifestyle may also increase the risk of survival after a diagnosis is made.

Survival rates have been improving steadily over the decades and employers should do their bit to increase employee awareness of the risk factors and instigate workplace cultural change.

This means tackling the main issues – smoking, drinking and sedentary lifestyle – and providing realistic alternatives.

For example, flexible working options such as work from home will allow employees to more easily fit exercise into their routine. As alcohol is directly attributed as a cause in around 3% of new cancer cases in the UK each year, employers should also consider reviewing company policies around alcohol, e.g. weekly work drinks, and breaking down any drinking culture linked to the workplace.

Mental Health and Cancer

Establishing and maintaining a productive workspace with satisfied employees should be the goal for every business owner. Not only does this improve recruitment and retention, it also ensures that you protect the health of all employees and your business bottom line.

It’s also crucial for good employee physical and mental health. Research has suggested that five forms of cancer are more likely in men who work in a stressful job for 15 years. Stress, in turn, can leave employees more vulnerable to serious illness. The main aim should therefore be to minimise stress.

With mental health and cancer in a reciprocal relationship, it is also important for employers to ensure that workplace culture does not have a negative impact when employees are already dealing with a serious illness.

Emotional and Physical Support

After a cancer diagnosis is made or even pre-diagnosis when symptoms are first apparent, the psychological impact is often underestimated as the focus falls on the physical suffering.

But the entire process of diagnosis and treatment can put immense strain on the ill person as well as their family, friends, and even colleagues. In many cases this leads to anxiety and depression, and a longer, more complex recovery process.

While we can hope and look forward to a world free of cancer in the long-term, our improved understanding of prevention techniques means it is the employer’s responsibility to put the best cover in place to support people and their families who’ve been affected by cancer.

The Group Risk Insurance market offers a diverse range of products to support employees before diagnosis, during treatment and on the road to recovery.

Among group critical illness, life insurance and income protection policies, benefits might include the second medical opinion service to catch the illness in its earliest stages – early detection and diagnosis has already done much to improve the ten-year survival rates.

Value Added Benefits

These protection policies offer tailored and targeted support to those in need, helping to maintain a good quality of life during difficult times and financial, emotional and practical relief for families and employers even if the worst should happen.

Other benefits might include the employee assistance program and bereavement counselling. For example, Group Income Protection offers invaluable cover for employees beyond the often-insufficient statutory sick pay allowance.

Making claims will support the employee and their family financially, practically and emotionally; this should ultimately expedite recovery and return to work and/or help the sufferer to achieve a good quality of life despite their illness.

Value added services on protection claims also provide patients with an important support structure throughout their illness, with nurse protection in particular a valued service to support the many cancer sufferers who feel isolated and lonely during their illness.

Group Risk Insurance Number Crunching

The numbers speak for themselves. The Group Critical Illness market paid out £45m in 2015 and Canada Life alone saw an average of six cancer claims every single working day in 2017.

The cost of care for the four most common cancers has been estimated at £1,500,000,000 a year, or 3% of the total cost of hospital care in the UK.

Private healthcare is another key protection policy to consider for your employees. The availability of treatment and early diagnosis are two of the most powerful ways to battle cancer and increase the individual chances of recovery – bypassing those NHS waiting lists may save your life.

As technological and medical advances make way for new treatments, it remains to be seen how readily they would become available via public healthcare models that makes private healthcare even more essential.

The Group Insurance Market

Every year, the UK group insurance market pays out thousands of claims for cancer, but detection and treatment methods are improving all the time.

As we focus on increasing awareness and putting the best possible protection in place, we can continue this positive trend and ensure that anyone who does suffer has access to the highest quality of support in every aspect.

For more information on any aspect of group risk insurance, contact Vintage Corporate today on 020 8371 5232 or via email at

For more details on private health insurance, our colleagues at Vintage Health would be happy to help. Just call 020 8371 5240 or email