Helm News: Group Risk Benefits - Are You Ready?

Legislative impact to Group Risk Benefits

The pace of change in employee benefits in the UK is showing no sign of abating. We know that keeping up to date with changes in the market and in legislation is challenging and so to help you we’ve compiled a short checklist of areas you might wish to consider in advance of your next group risk benefits renewal date.

Issue Background What you need to consider

Lifetime Allowance (LTA) & Group Life Assurance

Registered Group Life Assurance schemes are written under pensions legislation and are therefore subject to the LTA.

  • Payments on death may lead to the LTA being exceeded and an unexpected tax charge for the employee’s estate.
  • Employees who have elected for Protection of their benefits.
  • Changes to the design of your scheme will avoid unintended consequences.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) & Income Protection Changes to the ESA will limit the period over which it is paid in certain circumstances or prevent new ESA claims. If your Income Protection scheme makes allowance for the payment of
state benefits, you will need to understand how your insurer intends to
approach the changes and any changes you may need to make to your scheme design.
Age Discrimination The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 state that employers may not discriminate on the grounds of age or enforce a retirement age below 65. The Employment Equality (Repeal of Retirement Age Provisions)
Regulations 2011 gives insured Group Risk an exemption to have a default age at which benefits may cease on the basis that this is the greater of State Pension Age or 65. Your schemes design should therefore be reviewed if they haven’t been already.
Trustee discretion on the payment of death benefits from an occupational
pension scheme
In 2012, the Pensions Ombudsman highlighted the need to follow the correct process when making the decision as to whom death benefits should be paid. Up to date member nominations are essential as is member understanding of the benefits payable on death. Are your processes suitably robust should they be challenged or if disclosure is required?

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Ed Smithson at 020 7614 1026 or via email at ed.smithson@helmgodfrey.com.


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