Press release: Employees value their pets over their income

New research by Epoq Legal indicates that employees are more likely to insure their pets than their salary.

Epoq’s new research into employee-paid and self-paid insurance benefits, reveals that 32% of those surveyed have pet insurance in comparison to 25% with some form of income protection. The research was conducted by Opinium in June 2018 among 1,234 employees from across the UK.

The majority (23%) have paid for the pet insurance themselves, with the remaining 8% receiving it as an employee benefit, in comparison to just 14% of people who choose to pay for income protection themselves (and 12% employer-paid).

This suggests that pet insurance is a form of cover and employee benefit that is valued by employees more than income protection, despite income protection generally considered to be one of the most important forms of insurance for employees to have as it replaces your salary if you can no longer work due to illness or disability.

Employees were more likely to buy pet insurance than critical illness cover (31%), private medical insurance (31%), phone/gadget insurance (30%), dental insurance (25%) or income protection (25%). Bearing in mind all employees surveyed will be earning an income, but not all will have a pet, this seems to be a concerning misallocation of priorities.

Tom Conner from employee benefits adviser Drewberry says: “I would encourage employers to offer some form of income protection more widely to staff as it is generally the most important form of cover for those of working age. It is certainly more important than pet insurance and I would advise employees that, if they are going to source any form of long term insurance themselves, income protection should probably be top of the list.”

Legal advice is undersupplied as an employee benefit

Meanwhile, the survey also revealed that, despite 87% of respondents saying they valued legal advice as an employee benefit in last year’s Epoq survey, only 15% of respondents this year say they receive that benefit. In addition, just 12% say they have access to legal documents, such as wills, through their employer.

Tom Conner continues: “It is also important for employees to receive expert guidance on how to best ensure that their life insurance payout is allocated properly in the event of death, through wills and trusts, for example.”

So, are employers offering the right mix of benefits to employees? In part, it may depend on age. In the 18-34 age group the research showed that 45% agreed that ‘My employer offers benefits that are relevant to my stage in life’, but this drops to 32% among the 35-54 age group and 18% for those who are 55+.

Epoq Commercial Director, Andrew Walker says: “While medical and life insurance were understandably the most common forms of employer paid insurance, there may be room to add extra value to the type of employee benefits on offer.

“For example, last year’s Epoq research found that just over two-fifths of respondents (41%) have a will, the majority of whom (45%) are in the 65+ age bracket. Oddly, the ages at which most people are most likely to have a mortgage and dependants represent the age brackets least likely to have a will (9% in the 25 – 34 age bracket and 10% in the 35 – 44 age bracket),” says Walker.

“This suggests there are lots of people of working age that need to create important legal documents like wills, but aren’t doing so, possibly due to lack of advice, awareness or simply a lack of convenient access to the right services.

“Clearly there’s a need here and if employers were to provide a wills service as a benefit, it stands to reason that more people would more likely choose to make one and so protect their interests and those of their loved ones.”

Read the full findings here.

For more information about Epoq’s employee benefits service, please email us or call on 020 8731 2424.