Unemployment/Sickness Cover: ABI Launches Income Gap Calculator

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has launched a beta version of an online calculator, which works out consumers’ likely financial entitlements if they are unable to work due to illness or injury.

‘Percy The Protection Calculator’, which is still in development, is a calculator aimed at consumers that is designed to give quick access to an accurate estimation of likely monthly income if you’re injured or fall ill. This is done by tapping into the Government’s benefit data and combining it with information provided by the Calculator’s user.

The Calculator is aimed at raising consumer awareness and this will be its sole purpose. The data will not be stored and will not be used for any other purpose – users won’t even be required to share their name, first line of address or email address.

Each year, one million workers find themselves unable to work due to prolonged sickness or injury, so it’s essential that people are aware of what their income might be under these circumstances, particularly as it is highly likely to be significantly less than their usual take-home pay. The fact is that unless you have children aged 19 or under living with you, then the benefits package available is pitifully small – childless, single people are basically left to fend for themselves.

The Calculator can be found on the ABI’s website at www.abi.org.uk/percy. Feedback is encouraged in order to adapt and improve the tool to best suit its users ahead of a full launch later this year.

In the past many people used to save money, as the big banks offered interest rates of 5-6 percent or so, but since the financial crash of 2007, governments and banks have colluded to essentially remove any incentive to save; today’s pathetic interest rates are unable to keep pace with inflation. The net result is that millions of people have less than two months savings to call upon, should they suffer an accident, or develop an illness.

The Calculator is designed to be simple enough for anyone to use independently. Peoples’ personal circumstances will change the amount they’re entitled to under Universal Credit. Factors that may affect entitlements include marital status, income, level of savings and whether or not the user has children.

Roshani Hewa, Head of Protection and Health at the ABI, said“Our vision for the creation of Percy is to provide a calculator that gives people the information they need in order to plan their finances and prepare for any unexpected income shocks in the future. The data people provide will never be stored or saved for any reason whatsoever.

“We know that Percy isn’t perfect just yet, which is why we’re so keen for users to engage in its development. We’ll be working tirelessly towards its full launch later this year, and hope that in the meantime it provides invaluable information to boost people’s financial awareness.”

Michael Royce, Proposition Manager at the Single Financial Guidance Body, also commented: “The Single Financial Guidance Body welcomes the launch of the ABI’s protection calculator. We recognise that it can be difficult for people to understand how much of a drop in income they might experience in the event of not being able to work because of illness or of caring responsibilities. This calculator allows people to get a sense of any potential shortfall not made up by either sick pay or other entitlements and to start taking action to build up their financial resilience.

We hope that employers will look to signpost their staff to the calculator and, at the same time, take the opportunity to alert them to their own policies on sick pay, which research suggests many employees are unaware of.”

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