MetLife Enhances Product for SMEs, Looking to Offer Employer Benefits

MetLife UK is enhancing its Group Life Master Trust as its focuses on growing the market and reducing the barriers to employers providing death in service benefits to staff.

It has added an Excepted Group Life Master Trust to its existing Registered Group Life Master Trust with a focus on supporting SME employers deterred from offering life cover to staff by concerns over the  potential administrative burden of running a scheme.

The enhancements build on the success of MetLife’s Registered Master Trust, which was launched in 2013 and has more than 1,500 participating employers. MetLife’s Master Trusts are designed to ensure that life cover can be provided in a flexible format for employees and aim to minimise the work for employers while maxisming benefits for staff.

Research from MetLife shows around a quarter (23%) of companies employing between 50 and 299 staff offer life insurance but more than (53%) plan to expand the benefits they offer over the next two years. More than half (51%) of SMEs which do not offer benefits beyond pensions say they cannot afford to provide them while 11% say they do not have the in-house expertise to provide benefits.

MetLife’s Master Trusts make providing life cover easier for employers as the legal responsibility, decision-making and reporting for tax to HMRC is handled by the independent trustee, Irwin Mitchell Trustees Limited. The Trusts are free to use for employers, employees and advisers.

Clare Lusted, Head of Propositions, MetLife UK said: “Employers clearly want to expand the benefits they provide staff, and life cover is a crucial part of the market which we are focused on growing. Making it easier for employers to offer cover will help more employees benefit.

“Excepted cover is increasing in popularity across the market partly because of reductions in the pension lifetime allowance, and adding it to our Master Trust proposition will enable us to support more employers and particularly help the SME market.”

Any employer taking out a MetLife Group Life policy can use the Master Trust and there is no maximum limit to the number of employees that can be covered. As part of the enhancements to the Master Trusts, MetLife has also streamlined the process for transferring existing MetLife Group Life policies into the Trust.

MetLife UK is established as the UK’s third largest Group Life provider by number of schemes it insures and the sixth largest Group Income Protection provider by in-force premium.

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