With people across the UK facing the financial challenges of a rapidly rising cost of living, new data from leading protection and health insurer The Exeter has revealed that 43% of working age adults are worried about the potential loss of income resulting from a personal illness or injury. However, just 17% have, or are in the process of applying for, income protection policies that can help them manage the financial impact of these events.
The findings from The Exeter’s Challenging Times: The health and financial fears of UK workers report indicate that concerns around financial precarity are prominent for UK adults. Yet the benefits of various protection products and financial tools to help people manage the financial impact of personal illness or injury are still often unknown.
Almost a fifth (18%) of workers surveyed said that they didn’t see the need for insurance products such as income protection or life insurance, 8% said that they didn’t know what the products were, and a further 9% said they would like to know more but didn’t know where to start. These points present some critical gaps in knowledge for the average UK worker.
Workers in London most concerned about loss of income due to ill health
Compared to the national average, workers in London were the most concerned about a loss of personal income due to illness or injury, with 47% of those surveyed reporting this worry against the national average of 43%. However, by region, London also reported the second highest level of workers with income protection policies at 26%, 9% above the national average.
While workers in London are the most concerned about a loss of income due to illness, they are the least concerned about the cost of products. Of those London workers without income protection policies, only 47% reported that this was due to the affordability of insurance products – the lowest rate for any region of the UK.
Self-employed workers still exposed
Looking at specifically self-employed people in the UK, the number of self-employed adults with any form of insurance in 2022, including an income protection, health insurance, life cover or a cash plan product, was only slightly lower than the UK average (46% compared to 48%). This is despite self-employed workers having less of a safety net in the form of employer sick pay or employer-funded health insurance.
However, more self-employed adults in 2022 are concerned about a potential loss of earnings due to personal illness compared to 2019, before the pandemic (46% compared to 34%). This corresponds with a rising level of income protection for this demographic, with 17% of self-employed adults now having a policy, compared to only 9% in 20191.
Jamie Page, Head of Protection Distribution at The Exeter, comments:
“The cost of an unexpected illness can have a profound impact on a person’s financial wellbeing. Above anything else, our Challenging Times report has highlighted how, regardless of age or region, workers in the UK are concerned for their health and financial future.
With such a substantial proportion of people evidently worried about loss of income from illness, it’s up to insurance providers and advisers to make sure consumer education on protection products is reaching as wide an audience as possible and they are aware of the benefits of having a safety net over the monthly cost of paying an insurance premium.”
1 – The Exeter, Ill Prepared - the self-employed financial resilience report, 2020.
Tom Stewart-Walvin, Rostrum
D: +44 (0) 7855 689 302
About The Exeter
The Exeter is a leading protection and healthcare insurer who have been supporting UK families in the event of ill health or injury since 1888.
Formerly known as the Exeter Friendly Society and Pioneer Friendly Society, The Exeter is a mutual friendly society. This means it is owned by members and run for their benefit, rather than shareholders.
The Exeter is a trading name of Exeter Friendly Society Limited, which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Register number 205309) and is incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992 Register No. 91F with its registered office at Lakeside House, Emperor Way, Exeter, England EX1 3FD.