Time to reboot the AE GIP campaign?

AE GIP reboot

What if?

Pensions Auto-Enrolment and RDR has done amazing, transformative things for the pension industry but it still staggers me how fixated many industry and government people are with just pushing saving for retirement.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hugely important but, as a 40-year-old with a young family, a hefty mortgage and a fledging business, I often wonder “what if something bad happens to me before I reach 55?”.

What if I was one of the millions of working people that have no access to a company sick pay policy, no HR team to support me, no occupational health to assist my return to work and – most importantly – no Group Income Protection scheme to call upon in times of genuine need!

What good is an auto-enrolment pension when I can’t access any of the money in a crisis to keep the roof over my family’s heads or help put food on our table because I’m unable to work? If I’m struggling with an illness or injury, who can I rely on to rehabilitate me?

EBC have, in James Biggs and Noel O’Hora, two of the best pension and financial wellbeing guys in the business.

We are extremely lucky to have their enthusiasm, experience and expertise at our disposal. So are our clients.

Not being much of a pension aficionado, and displaying a limited pension foresight, I recently asked the guys: “when, realistically, will we see another mandatory minimum increase to AE?”.

Their response suggested we could very soon see another increase because 8% is simply not going to be enough to help employees retire comfortably.

This really got me kicking in to Group Risk/Protection overdrive. Respecting the need for people to save enough to retire, I think it would be daft to do this without first addressing the blatant need to help people live in the “now”! The BALANCE needs correcting.

I’m just as passionate about health, protection and wellbeing as my new colleagues are about pensions and financial wellbeing.

It’s about time I follow their admirable lead in making the case for the valuable employee benefits I consult on!

If The Government insist on another increase in AE mandatory contributions to something like 10%, I say enough!

Instead, if you are going to mandate, say, a further 2% of salary cost on employers, don’t simply put it towards a pension, put it towards auto-enrolment GIP or some other form of illness / injury protection!

That way, every employee would benefit from a form of rehabilitation and/or income protection up to their potential retirement, every employer would have access to vital absence management support services and, perhaps, a large part of the DWP budget can be switched to tackling our country’s social/elder care issues.

Auto-enrolment GIP has been mooted before; there is nothing novel about what I am suggesting here but a quick Google search suggests the topic has been parked for quite some time.

Any move to increase mandatory pension percentages should immediately trigger refreshed canvassing for such a thing – in fact, why wait?

Please comment and let me know what you think.

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