Is it time for a Group Risk industry rebrand?

Questions are being asked if the group risk industry needs a rebrand as research has found employees prefer alternative product names.

Research from Canada Life Group Insurance found that when presented with alternatives, many employees favour new product names for popular group risk products, with some finding current names difficult to understand.

A fifth (22%) of respondents do not feel the name ‘critical illness cover’ is easy to understand and accurately reflects what the product does, rising to 24% who said the same of ‘group life assurance’ and 26% who agreed for ‘group income protection.’

Half (51%) of those surveyed agree ‘serious illness support’ would more clearly communicate what critical illness cover does, while a third (33%) say the same for ‘employee illness support’. One in ten (11%) didn’t feel a name change was needed.

However, only 4% favoured no name change for group life assurance, with employee life insurance (37%) or employee death benefit (37%) being the most popular alternatives.

Employees feel ‘long term sickness salary’ best communicates what group income protection does (43%).

Names that include ‘sick pay’ in the title are also popular, e.g. ‘sick pay support’ (32%), ‘extended sick pay’ (25%) and ‘sick pay services’ (21%).

This may have something to do with employees’ familiarity with Statutory Sick Pay and the idea of receiving support payments when ill. Like group critical illness, 11% of employees feel that no name change is needed for group income protection.

Thinking about the name of the group risk industry as a whole, respondents said that out of the options provided in the survey, ‘employee health and life support industry’ (40%), ‘employee insurance industry’ (38%) and ‘employee protection industry’ (33%) would make suitable alternatives.

However, a fifth of employees (19%) said none of the suggestions provided would make these products more understandable, demonstrating the lack of clarity surrounding what the industry provides from an employee’s perspective.

Top three alternatives for each product

Group Life Assurance


Employee life insurance


Employee death benefit


Death in service benefit

Group Income Protection


Long-term sickness salary


Sick pay support


Extended sick pay

Paul Avis, Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance, commented:

“As the market leader in group risk, it is clear to us that the industry needs to seriously consider how it is presented to the public, to make it clear to employers why they should find budget to purchase the benefits and help employees understand the value of the benefits being provided for them.

“While there is still a long way to go to discover the most widely understood descriptions, it is vital that the industry acknowledges the confusion which can be caused by something we all take for granted, but is crucial in communicating our worth to potential customers – the very name of what we are selling!”

Avis added: “Group risk products are designed to provide a safety net for a number of health and wellbeing issues that can affect anyone at any time. Anyone who works in this industry is passionate about the positive impact our products can have on employees and their families.

“We have to step away and look at the fundamentals, though: what do we even call them? Group protection? Group risk? Group insurance? If we’re honest, the way we use the term “group” means nothing to the person in the street. So where does that leave us?”

The research from Canada Life Group Insurance was based on a survey of 1,009 UK employees.