Whether you’re a small and medium enterprise (SME) owner insuring your business for the first time or you’re fully convinced of the need for protection to ensure business continuity, staying abreast of these shifts could help you better safeguard your business and keep it afloat in an ever-changing business landscape.
Singlife's Group Business Director, Pavan Virmani, and Head of General Insurance, Pan Jing Long, single out the biggest patterns in employee benefits and business protection to take note of.
Employers are now also more concerned about the wellness of their employees. They’re exploring preventive measures such as health screening and chronic illness management to ensure that medical costs are contained where the portfolio are not affected by the large chronic claims.Pavan Virmani, Group Business Director, Singapore Life Ltd
#1 Employee benefits as a tool for attracting – and retaining – top talent
Employee benefits used to be seen as just that – another employee benefit. Thus, when it came to cost-cutting, it wasn’t unusual for companies to start with reducing benefits for their employees. But in an age where businesses are vying for the best talents, your employee benefits package could be the trump card that pulls star employees to your side.
Pavan Virmani, Group Business Director at Singlife, says, “’SME Benefit Ecosystem’ and ‘Employee Wellbeing’ are the biggest buzzwords in employee benefits now. Today, employee benefits is a tool for talent acquisition and retention where larger companies are becoming more focused on benchmarking the level of coverage under employee benefits against their own industry.
“Employers are now also more concerned about the wellness of their employees. They’re exploring preventive measures such as health screening and chronic illness management to ensure that medical costs are contained where the portfolio are not affected by the large chronic claims.”
So, take a strategic approach when formulating your employee benefits package. Start with forming a holistic view of your employees’ needs, from medical coverage to critical illness protection, personal accident and dental cover. Decide if you want to extend these benefits to their dependants as well. Also look at what competitors are offering before deciding on solutions that not only address your employees’ needs but also let your business stand out as an employer of choice.
Ask yourself: do you want to stop at what’s legally required or go beyond that and do good by addressing societal need?
#2 Comprehensive life and medical cover
It’s natural for SME owners to pay more attention to offering medical coverage for their employees, because it’s a practical, more immediate way to help them reduce any out-of-pocket expenses for medical care. But increasingly, businesses are looking to complement this with life coverage. A life cover gives a lump-sum payment to the employee’s family should they die while in the employment of the company. With this financial security, your employees don’t have to worry about their family’s well-being should the unexpected happen to them and can focus better at work.
And since many insurers offer bundle discounts when you get more than one product, adding life coverage to a group medical plan makes a cost-effective way to deliver valuable employee benefits.
#3 Flexible, portable benefits
While in the past employee benefits didn’t vary much across businesses, employers today are tailoring their offerings to suit the needs of their employees. In SMEs where employees are a key resource, this is an effective way to cultivate and develop relationships with a reliable support team.
Pavan says, “What employees want rests largely on the age profile of the company. Employees above age 40, for instance, would be more concerned with life insurance and medical cover for their immediate dependants. Meanwhile, employees aged below 35 value greater flexibility that allows them to go out and get coverage on their own that’s fully paid for by the employer.”
He adds, “Having more flexible benefits supports flexible choices. Employers are looking at replacing the group medical with individual medical coverage in order to exercise portability when an employee leaves the company.”
However, it may be a while before there’s a cost-effective way to do this. As Pavan points out, premiums for the individual product are likely to be drastically higher. Thus, once an employee who’s on individual medical benefits retires or is out of work, these could be unaffordable for them.
“For now, the next best thing SME owners can do is to really understand their employees’ needs based on the profile of the majority of their employees. And since they have a lower headcount as compared to MNCs, it’ll be easier for them to provide coverage which is closer to the needs of most of their employees.”
#4 24/7 digital access to benefits for employees
With the internet of things, employees want details about their benefits at their fingertips, not in a long document they’ll probably forget about. Increasingly, apps and other digital platforms are being used to allow employees to access details of their benefits (both insurance and non-insurance) anytime, anywhere. One example is Singlife’s ClaimConnect app, which lets employees submit claims quickly and directly to the insurer, freeing them and human resource personnel of tedious paperwork and allowing them to use their work hours more productively. With ClaimConnect, they can also view claims status, track their claims history as well as access to entitled benefits entitlement and a list of panel doctors.
Work Injury Compensation and Motor insurance are compulsory covers for Singapore businesses. In addition, it’s also advisable to get coverage for Property and Liability.Pan Jing Long, Head of General Insurance, Singapore Life Ltd.
#5 Customisable commercial insurance
Because small and medium enterprises are constantly evolving, flexible business protection options are an attractive proposition. That’s why Singlife allows business owners to build their own insurance package.
Where do you start?
Pan Jing Long, Singlife's Head of General Insurance, says, “Work Injury Compensation and Motor insurance are compulsory covers for Singapore businesses. In addition, it’s also advisable to get coverage for Property and Liability. And for comprehensive coverage that lets you concentrate on running your business with peace of mind, business owners should also look at covering every other conceivable risk their business may face. This will vary from industry to industry and business to business.
“With Singlife’s MyBusiness Insurance, you get essential core cover for All Risks, Public Liability and Work Injury Compensation, plus the option to add on specific covers to suit your unique business requirements – and budget – effectively building your own cover. The add-ons can be reviewed as your business changes to ensure new risks are covered.”
With this transparency and choice, you’ll have greater control over your spending for protection while getting adequate coverage.
#6 Professional guidance
Just thinking about business insurance can be intimidating enough, especially if you’re new to it. Trying to get adequate coverage that’s within your budget can seem even harder. The solution: leave your business insurance needs to a trusted insurer. It’ll mean you can get coverage from a reputable company and one that’s just right for your business — at a price you’re comfortable with. This insurer can journey with you and help you align your coverage to your evolving business needs. This way, you’ll be free to do what you’re good at – running your business.
Jing Long says, “Much like a partner you can always rely on, Singlife is committed to fostering strong relationships with SME owners to understand them, and provide practical advice and solutions that’ll give them the resilience to financially stay afloat during unexpected events. We’ll help see you through ups and downs, and seize opportunities. Our aim is to make it easy for businesses to focus 100% on what they do best – making their customers happy.”
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