• February 5, 2020 10:54 am


As a small, medium or large employer you’re understandably interested in employee benefits. Is that because you have to be? Or is it because staff wellbeing links to your productivity, culture and business success?

At Punter Southall Health & Protection, we believe that fully supporting employee wellness across our diverse and evolving workforces will take centre stage going forward. Whatever your shape, size or sector, a healthy, valued workplace will help you achieve that sustainable, high performance culture.
As a micro business, SME or large corporate you can get there faster with strategic benefit design, creativity and knowledge that builds value for your employees and engagement for you.


Group life assurance
Traditionally pays a lump sum payment to an employee’s chosen beneficiary should they die while employed.
The financial support it gives to bereaved families is often vital and it can pragmatically protect employers from the burden of sudden and significant payouts. But managing life assurance can be challenging and high risk. It often takes a disputed or rejected claim to realise that employee data is out of date and therefore so is the cover.

We give our clients Gladis to help reduce their risk.
Finding the right product in a busy market can have significant budget implications and also increase its value as a benefit.

Group income protection

Protects an employee’s earnings if their ability to work is affected by illness or injury.
This has become a pivotal ‘duty of care’ benefit for many employers as statistically employees are three times more likely to use it over life assurance and state support cannot guarantee a reasonable standard of living. Yet long-term cost and employment liabilities are still a worry.

Critical illness insurance

Pays a tax-free lump sum to an employee on diagnosis of a critical illness.
UK employer premiums for this are taxed as income and pre-existing conditions tend to be excluded, so this isn’t a typical employee benefit. However, when an employee needs expensive treatment or life-changing support, it quickly translates into highly valued employer help.
Employers need to understand the implications and therefore be clear on the reasons for including this benefit. A more integrated approach or working it into flexible benefits might be the best way forward.

Personal accident insurance
Pays a tax-free lump sum to an employee following an accident that affects their ability to work
UK employer premiums for this are taxed as income and the policy terms tend to be restrictive – the cause has to be an accident rather than a medical condition for instance – so it isn’t a usual employee benefit.

However, when an employee’s lifestyle has to change, this quickly becomes highly valued. It’s straightforward to explain and doesn’t lead to a long-term employer commitment, but payments do vary according to the injury. It’s most commonly offered as a flexible benefit option.
Multi-national pooling

Groups insurance policies together in a ‘pool’ to drive better value for multi-national employers.
Companies with two or more operations in different countries can combine to form a ‘pool’ that maximises their global purchasing opportunities. Each country still designs locally appropriate solutions but effectively sources insurance cover through collective buying power.

This can generate improved local insurance rates and pay out a home country dividend if the claims experience is positive. But establishing a pool can be tricky without the right advice. We assess whether this approach is even feasible before getting into the detail.

Personal Nurse Adviser Service
Advises and supports people through long-term, serious and mental ill health.
Traditionally employees receive benefits that practically and financially help them if they become ill. But what if they struggle to cope with an illness or the questions it raises? How can employers best support them then?

Our sister company RedArc, supports ill health employees with practical advice and emotional support throughout their illness. Their team of Personal Nurse Advisers is experienced in a range of medical fields and equipped to individually help patients with advice and information on specific treatments and relevant therapies. Regular, compassionate telephone conversations with the same qualified nurse ensures that employees make the best use of available medical care.

Through RedArc, we offer long-term illness support for employees impacted by a significant medical condition, disability or critical illness and mental wellbeing support for those suffering from stress, depression, anxiety etc.

UK Private Medical Insurance

Gives employees quick access to leading UK medical care and hospitals.
Employees really value and make use of private medical insurance (PMI). It can help to get them back to work faster too. Employers use it as a recruitment tool and benefit from reduced sickness absence. However premium costs, driven by medical inflation rates, continue to overtake salary inflation so it’s increasingly rare to extend PMI across a workforce and often employers want to cut it back.

PMI is emotional, yet appealing, and we recognise that. We always recommend analysing how employees use it before switching to a cheaper alternative and do all that we can to help all employers, irrelevant of size, benefit from PMI cost effectively.
We shop around to find the right solution for each client or devise a bespoke answer that fits the need. Through Havensrock Private Medical Insurance, even very small schemes can offer top quality healthcare to attract top talent.

With the Post Hospital Service employers can supplement their PMI package with our post-treatment rehabilitation service at minimal cost per employee and help reduce sickness absence. As employees leave or retire, they can also continue PMI with us as a consumer.

Healthcare Trusts

Enables employers to self-design tax efficient, flexible healthcare benefits.
Fully insured private medical insurance isn’t right for everyone. A tricky risk profile needs specific benefits to be effective and heavy servicing could bump up premiums. But with a Trust, employers can handpick their benefits and there’s no Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) to pay.
We help clients design a plan, calculate funding, complete documentation and set up the administration. We can even provide a claims service. The end result is a truly unique solution that meets individual business needs.

As winners of the Best Health Trust Intermediary category in the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Health Insurance Awards, we are well positioned to advise you.
International Private Medical Insurance
Ensures overseas employees and their families can access quality medical treatment quickly.

As a duty of care and to meet local employment laws, multi-nationals provide overseas employees and often their families with access to medical care. But across the globe, these requirements, legislations and costs vary hugely and whether they are expatriate, third country national or local national makes a difference too.
International private medical insurance (IPMI) requires specialist advisors and knowledge of local markets all over the world to ensure employees are always correctly covered, wherever they are. We are the UK representative of the Asinta Network of independent, English-speaking benefit consultants. Together, we meet business needs and safeguard the wellbeing of employees abroad.

Travel Insurance

Helps employees with unexpected expense and personal loss while travelling.
This covers employee medical expenses in areas with inadequate or expensive treatment and can be extended to include personal trips with families too.

But it’s frequently misunderstood: claims go through business expenses, instead of the insurer and too much cover is easily bought. It’s often badged as more of a business safeguard than a valued benefit – which is fine if that’s the strategy. We design bespoke solutions, ensuring any difficult or unusual risks are covered.

Cash Plan

Gives employees and their families cash back towards everyday healthcare bills.
Cash Plans are no longer PMI’s ‘poor relation’. They’re an easily provided, company paid healthcare option for all employees. They help with the costs of dental, optical, osteopathy, physiotherapy bills and can also include useful benefits for specialist consultations and diagnostics.

Employers appreciate their staff appeal and they’re especially cost effective for smaller businesses too.
But like PMI, they’re precious. So we tread carefully and advise researching employees before making any changes to a popular cash plan.

Dental Insurance

Helps employees with the cost of dental treatment.
Employees value dental insurance. It helps them cover their usual check-up costs and additional treatment. It can help improve oral health in general.
As a benefit, this often loses out to more significant financial risks like life assurance or income protection. But in the US and Canada, it is frequently provided workforce-wide and with UK NHS dentistry limits tightening, the value of dental insurance is only set to increase.

RedArc Long-Term Illness and Mental Health Support

Advises and supports people through long-term, serious illness and mental ill health.
Traditionally employees receive benefits that practically and financially help them if they become ill. But what if they struggle to cope with an illness? How can employers best support them then?
Our sister company RedArc has a team of Personal Nurse Advisers who support ill health employees with practical, considerate telephone advice and emotional support throughout their illness. Experienced in a range of medical fields, they are equipped to individually help patients with valuable advice on specific treatments and relevant therapies.

Absence Management

Helps employees return to work faster.
Forward-thinking employers recognise that managing absence drives employee wellbeing, which in turn links to business culture, productivity and success.
We pro-actively integrate occupational health, absence management processes and employee benefits in Healthsmart to help employees recover faster and employers to manage absence better.

We define employee absence ‘triggers’ and design bespoke processes to suit each business. We make the absence referrals and access services and treatments through existing benefits.
We also review and advise on absence cases each month. Offering inbuilt flexibility and three service levels, we answer individual business needs and can work alongside the Government’s Fit for Work service.

Occupational Health

Helps to create safe, healthy working environments and reduces sickness absence.
Quality occupational health monitors employee ill health cases and cuts employer risk. It’s important support for all employers, large and small, but cost and methodology need evaluating first.

We help source the right supplier and recommend integrating Healthsmart – our joined up occupational health, employee benefits and absence management approach. With inbuilt flexibility and three service levels, it answers individual business needs.

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP)

Provides employees and their families with access to qualified, independent, wide-ranging support.
Covering health and stress through to legal matters and debt, employee assistance programmes (EAPs) give confidential advice via a telephone helpline and often face-to-face counselling too.

Many financial services products include an EAP so we help to manage costs by avoiding duplication across benefits. We also ensure the fit is relevant to each business so that employees use and value the service.

Wellness Initiatives

Helps employees become more health aware.
Employee wellbeing helps drive business success, so workforce health and work-life balance are priorities for many employers. But fulltime wellbeing managers are often too expensive, so initiatives tailored to employees and their roles work well.

We facilitate brainstorming sessions to design the relevant programme and help source suppliers, kick-start implementation and analyse results. We advise on flexible working, health risk assessments, workplace gyms and discounts, exercise at work, diet, sleep improvements, onsite GP services and hypnotherapy.

Health Risk Assessments

Educates employees about personal health risks.
Health screenings are a low cost wellbeing initiative that can inform and engage employees around their own health risks such as blood pressure or body mass index. Each employee receives a personal risk calculation and personal advice, leading to a more productive, engaged workplace.

We facilitate brainstorming sessions to design the right programme. We also help source suppliers, implement programmes and analyse results.

Stress Audits

Help to create safe, healthy working environments and protect against potential stress claims.
Legally, employers have to assess the risk of employees becoming ill through workplace stress. Auditing provides accurate recording and referral systems and identifies the most stressful roles

But measuring stress isn’t a one-off annual occurrence, especially if it is prevalent.
On-going systems and procedures, as well as supporting employees and making reasonable adjustments are required which smaller companies, without the infrastructure in place, struggle to achieve. We recommend building stress audits into occupational health and review the market to find the best value and service solution.


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