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Critical decision

Providing critical illness cover is good for businesses and good for the people they employ. Unum, provider of employee benefits, explains why

Did you know that each year in the UK:

  1. 188,000 hospital visits are caused by heart attacks1
  2. Almost 120,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer2
  3. And every three minutes and 27 seconds, someone suffers a stroke?3

These are sobering statistics not only because of the potentially tragic impact on peoples lives - but because the success of a business often depends on the health and wellbeing of its employees.

The impact of a critical illness on a person and their family can be devastating. Critical Illness cover can help relieve the financial strain that may result following a serious illness. By providing a lump sum 14 days after a critical illness event, employers can support the individual and their family, allowing them to concentrate fully on recovery.

Critical illness cover payments are tax-free, and can be used in whatever way the person chooses. This could include funding necessary adaptations in the home, taking time off work to care for a loved one, or enjoying a much-needed holiday once they are on the road to recovery.

A good critical illness policy will cover not just your employees, but their families too. Look for a policy that covers children at no extra cost, and offers additional cover for spouses and civil partners. Typically, you can choose for the benefit to pay out either as a multiple of the employees salary (usually between 1x and 5x) or a fixed payment. Standard cover should include common conditions such as heart attack, stroke, cancer and dementia, with an option to include additional conditions as add-ons. You can also opt for cover to be fully-funded by the company, split with your employees, or have them fund the cover themselves, with the premiums collected by you.

Some critical illness providers offer more than just financial assistance. Unum’s members have access to personalised cancer support, provided by Harley Street Concierge Limited, as well as an Employee Assistance Programme, LifeWorks – a 24/7 helpline that offers advice on range of work-life issues, including debt, HR matters, legal issues and childcare.

No one can shield people from distressing life events. But by providing vital financial support when it’s most needed, you can help your staff and their families overcome the trauma of a serious medical emergency or diagnosis, ease their journey to recovery and help them get back to normal more quickly. And that’s good business sense.


Unum Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England 983768.

In the UK, Unum has a financial strength rating of A- (Strong) from Standard & Poors with a stable outlook.

At the end of 2015, Unum protected over 1.4 million people in the UK and paid claims of £294m – representing in excess of £5.5m a week in benefits to our customers – providing security and peace of mind to individuals and their families.

1. Source: British Heart Foundation

2. Source: Macmillan

3. Source: Stroke Association