No financial plan B for two out of five workers

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One in four would rely on their partners if they couldn’t work, MetLife research shows

Over two fifths of employees (41%) have no financial back up plan if illness or a serious accident forced them to stop work, new research* from MetLife shows.

If the worst happened, more than a third would turn to partners, parents or even be forced to sell their house, the study found. Nearly a quarter favoured relying on their partner (23%) while 7% would be forced to sell their home and 4% would call on their parents for financial assistance.

Just 15% have insurance protecting their income against the risk of illness or a serious accident with only 7% receiving it as part of their employee benefits package, MetLife found.

Men are the least prepared with 45% admitting to having no Plan B compared to 38% of women. But women are twice as likely to rely on their partner for financial help with 30% happy to rely on their partner compared with 15% of men. Women are also three times (6% vs 2%) more likely to turn to their parents for a financial boost.

Workers in Southern England are the most unprepared with 44% admitting to having no Plan B falling to 34% for London – the lowest regional figure. In terms of being forced to sell their property, Scotland was double the national average at 14% and also topped the table in terms of the region most likely to rely on parental assistance (6%).

Stephanie Baillie, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “Most of us understandably do not like to think of the risks of not being able to work as a result of ill health or a serious accident – but for such a high proportion not to have any financial back up plan is worrying.

“Organising your finances and giving yourself a safety net is crucial. While no one wishes to consider losing their job or being unable to work, factoring in insurance to protect your income should be as much part of financial planning as saving for retirement or for a deposit for a house. ”

MetLife is one of the fastest-growing life and pensions groups in the UK and has its UK Employee Benefits division in Brighton**. Employing around 150 people, it is the UK hub for the sales and administration of its employee benefits and individual protection businesses.

Since 1 August 2011 all new protection business is written by MetLife Europe Limited, following the acquisition of insurer Alico in November 2010.

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  1. Upgrading the state unemployment, sickness and early retirement benefit payments would be the logical, low cost way for us all to protect ourselves. Perhaps we could lobby for government to reverse their current direction of travel?

    It’s unsurprising few people turn to private health and income protection insurance. Many people have bought insurance (eg mortgage protection insurance) that they believed protected them, only to discover at a time of personal crisis that the insurance did not cover people in their circumstances (self-employed, on zero hours contracts and so on).

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