Even though the new government has been elected on a mandate to “Get Brexit Done,” it doesn’t have a magic wand.
The UK’s relationship with the EU will therefore remain a key area of focus for us and our clients throughout 2020 and beyond.
From pensions to insurance benefits, our specialist teams will be monitoring developments and assessing their implications, and the subject will be on the agenda at all client meetings.
The fact that Chase de Vere is owned by Swiss Life gives us an unusually strong European perspective for a UK intermediary, as our parent group can often update us quicker than standard sources.
One particular topic we find is always coming up when we are encouraging employers to consider the relevance of Brexit to their employee benefits is the potential impact on employees based overseas who work for UK firms.
In particular, we have been working hard liaising with group risk providers to establish their positions on this, and expect clarity to emerge more quickly than it will on pension topics.
Obviously, if an employer has no overseas employees, and has no intention of having any, we can already make group risk recommendations with certainty, but in other cases it is important to wait for the situation to be made clear.
The key message is that the outcome won’t be determined by law but by the stance taken by individual insurers. So, I couldn’t think of a much better advert for the importance of employers having a specialist intermediary working on their behalf.
We are continually contacting the various insurers to ensure we are updated on their developing stances. Such a task would, however, be exceptionally time consuming for a single employer.
We can also ensure that clients are switched to more suitable insurers should the incumbent one prove unable to provide the cover required.
Employers who don’t use an intermediary and are tied to one insurer could, on the other hand, find themselves in a bit of a pickle if that insurer releases news that is incompatible with their needs.
In a worse case scenario, they might not even pick up on the development and could carry on without realising that employees aren’t covered.
Additionally, we can play an important part in helping to ensure that employees are best placed to deal with the personal challenges that Brexit may present. If one thing is certain about this year it is that it will involve a great deal of uncertainty, and this will result in stress.
Many employers already have added-value features on their group risk schemes, such as employee assistance programmes (EAPs) and early intervention services, that can play a major part in combating mental health issues. But these are of limited use if employees don’t know about them.
With EAPs, especially, take-up rates tend to have a direct correlation with how effectively employers have promoted them. Usage can be literally zero if there has been no communications programme at all but it can be in excess of 10% if the EAP’s existence and potential benefits have been highlighted effectively.
Chase de Vere is well placed to assist with devising an effective communications strategy, and can also provide a range of financial education programmes to ensure that employees are well prepared to deal with whatever personal financial challenges Brexit may throw up.
These, which can take the form of anything from workshops and seminars to one-to-one regulated face-to-face independent financial advice, can reduce financial stress – which is one of the biggest causes of workplace stress.
Mental health is rarely out of the news nowadays and has a direct link to any employer’s productivity. So rather than see the uncertainty caused by Brexit as an excuse for dithering, employers should be viewing it as an invaluable catalyst to trigger investment in initiatives they have been considering for fulfilling their duty of care to employees.
Content correct at time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.