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Employee benefits after the pandemic - what to look out for in 2021? (1/5)

Focus on disability plans and concern over Long COVID and mental health: Having reached the first-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic we have noted a shift in priorities for employee benefits and identified this topic as one of the 5 top priorities for 2021.

by Charlotte Biddle | 2 min read

While health and wellbeing have been the hot topics for a few years, disability plans have become the number one topic for employers in the course of the pandemic. Claims on short term and long term disability plans are on the increase. Whilst cancer, heart disease and injuries were the main causes of an employee being unable to work in previous years, the majority of claims in many countries are now caused by mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. With the pandemic, rates of depression and anxiety have increased and this is already being reflected in the claims management all around the world. In the UK for example, mental health is currently the top cause for an Income Protection claim.

Long COVID has affected people of all ages, whilst most people recover after a few weeks, some people continue to have symptoms for several months after they were first infected. Those suffering with Long COVID report various ongoing symptoms including:

  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • breathing difficulties
  • ‘brain fog’
  • heart palpitations
  • organ damage
  • headaches
  • memory problems
  • speech issues
  • many other symptoms that are still being investigated

Many insurers already have in place rehabilitation services that they previously used for claimants who had been off work due to injury, such as physiotherapy and graduated exercise programs. These services are now starting to be offered to those suffering with fatigue from Long COVID. As it is not clear how long these symptoms could last, an increase in life and disability claims is to be expected.

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About the author

Charlotte Biddle

is Account Manager at Allianz Global Benefits in London and acts as first contact point for clients and brokers in the UK & Ireland.