Bereavement benefit changes spark a priority change for insurers and employers

Bereavement benefit changes mean insurers and employers will need to tackle financial and emotional strain on families.

Among the most significant bereavement benefit amendments, changes will materially impact parents as they will only receive payments for 18 months

Among the most significant amendments, changes will materially impact parents as they will only receive payments for 18 months

Government support for the bereaved is changing from 6 April 2017: a new Bereavement Support Payment will be paid instead of the current suite of state bereavement benefits. Among the most significant amendments, changes will materially impact parents as they will only receive payments for 18 months, instead of until the child is no longer eligible for child benefit.

Christine Husbands, managing director for RedArc says, ‘Bereavement support is about to become critical as these changes begin to bite. Employers should be checking their existing employee assistance programmes (EAPs) or insurance policies as many group life insurance plans have in-built bereavement support that can be accessed by the entire company – even if not everyone is covered under the insurance plan.

‘Insurers should also be looking to work with reputable bereavement support services because whilst financial considerations are undoubtedly important, our experience is that finances are not the first thing people think of when experiencing a family bereavement. Emotional and practical support are both equally, if not more, important in supporting people through their grief.

‘The recent documentary about how Rio Ferdinand coped following the death of his wife has helped raise the issue of dealing with bereavement and supporting children at a very turbulent time. Employers need to step up now more than ever to support their staff in similar situations; and insurers need to recognise the importance of including bereavement support in their policies.’

RedArc provides a service directly to individuals, and via employers, often as part of an insurance product or EAP, that allow the bereaved to receive support from a named personal nurse adviser. The service is tailored to the individual and can be adjusted to help with practical and emotional support as needed.

The nurses will steer the individual towards organisations that can offer specific help, including charities and support groups as well as sending them resources such as CDs, factsheets and books. Complementary therapy is also beneficial to some and can be arranged. Nurses are also expert in helping parents cope with their children’s grief as well as their own, and in supporting people back in to work.

Further reading on bereavement

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