COVID-19 has brought a fundamental change, encouraging businesses to put more effort than ever into improving the wellbeing support offered to employees. Meanwhile, health insurers are enhancing their products and improving their wellness solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked awareness in health and wellbeing. According to GlobalData’s 2021 Q4 Consumer Survey, 53.6% of consumers around the globe are quite concerned or extremely concerned about their physical wellbeing, while 48.1% are also concerned about their mental wellbeing. Individuals tend to be more concerned about their physical than mental health; however, in some other countries such as Brazil and South Africa, people are more concerned about their mental health.
Throughout the pandemic, media coverage on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on mental health has made individuals more open to discussing their mental wellbeing too. This has diminished the stigma attached to mental health issues, which had previously made it harder for individuals to openly talk about them, in turn making it harder for health insurers to diagnose any such concerns.
The heightened interest in health and wellbeing has not gone unnoticed by employers, leading them to become more proactive at implementing changes. As per our 2021 UK Insurance Consumer Survey, more than a third (33.9%) of UK SMEs had increased or significantly increased the level of mental and physical wellbeing support offered to employees since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, this has been more pronounced with larger companies, as these not only have more employees to take care of but may also have more resources to do so. Similar trends have been repeated in other countries.
The extent of employee benefits intended to improve an employee’s mental and physical wellbeing is broad and may include private health insurance, life insurance, critical illness insurance, dental plans, and employee assistance programs. Indeed, insurers, too, are responding by increasingly moving towards health promotion and illness prevention, as well as enhancing their wellness solutions. Greater focus on early intervention could result in health conditions becoming less severe, potentially also reducing the severity of claims.