According to research commissioned by Friends Provident, very few people are aware of the changes made by the Welfare Reform Act. Most people think that it is unlikely that they will be off work for six months or more due to illness or accidental injury.
The importance of income protection insurance has been pushed to the top of the agenda by the recent first anniversary of the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act. In February 2009, there were 2.6 million people claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA, previously Incapacity Benefit). The Government aims to reduce those who are eligible for ESA through an inability to work due to sickness or injury by 1 million by implementing more stringent criteria for claiming, and encouraging potential claimants back into work.
Ed Stuart-Brown at Friends Provident advises, “People need to take responsibility to protect themselves from the financial hardship of an illness or injury by ensuring they have adequate income protection insurance. They need to switch on to the fact that the state is unlikely to meet their needs should the worst happen. We are encouraging people to think about the consequences of not having adequate provision. As one of the market leaders, we provide a high quality, high value proposition. This, matched with new competitive pricing provides the perfect solution.”