World Mental Health Day: More than one third of SMEs have increased wellbeing support since the pandemic

More than one-third of UK small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) have, to some extent, increased their support for mental and physical wellbeing since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a survey by GlobalData.

The data and analytics company notes that this comes as 67.8% of people in the UK were found to be at least slightly concerned about their mental wellbeing as a result of the pandemic.

Benjamin Hatton, Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, commented: ‘‘It is refreshing to see that a healthy percentage of UK businesses are acknowledging the importance of supporting their employees’ mental health, especially after such a difficult period. Some of the support we have seen ranges from establishing a head of wellbeing to paid mental health sick days to mental health cover on private medical insurance. The cost to businesses and insurers for these problems continues to rise, so it makes sense to see so many firms looking to enact such changes”.

Insurance firm Zurich reported that the proportion of income protection claims made by individuals citing mental health problems in the UK more than doubled to 27% in 2020, from 13% in 2019. Complementary to this finding, Zurich released a free-to-use digital tool for UK businesses to establish the risks and exposures they face with regards to mental wellbeing and the steps they can take to mitigate them.

According to GlobalData’s report, United Kingdom (UK) Income Protection Insurance Market to 2025, mental illness-related claims accounted for the largest proportion of paid income protection claims value in 2020, at 32.4%.

Hatton continued: “As the most expensive claim on income protection policies, and with mental health claims becoming more commonplace it is in everyone’s best interests to alleviate these problems.”

In the build-up to World Mental Health Day (10th of October 2021), Zurich also teamed up with UNICEF to promote mental wellbeing among adolescents in seven countries across the world.

Hatton adds: “Giving young adults and their caregivers in underdeveloped nations the tools to build healthy behavioural habits and emotional support is vital for their long-term health”.

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