Keyman Insurance or Executive Income Protection?

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Keyman Insurance and Income Protection can seem very similar. They both insure against an individual within a business becoming ill, although Keyman Insurance can also protect against the death of the individual, too.

Many of our clients aren’t sure of the difference between the two, or are confused about which one they need.

  • Keyman Insurance Protects Companies
    It pays out a lump sum to the business for the business should a key person become critically ill or pass away. That way, the business can keep trading while the individual is ill, or replace them if they are rendered out of action permanently.
  • Income Protection is very much there for individuals
    If you suffer an accident or sickness and become too ill to work, the benefit is ultimately paid to you to keep up with daily living expenses.

What is Income Protection Insurance?

Income Protection is there to insure against the risk of an individual becoming too ill or injured to work.

  • It pays out a monthly income – up to 80% of your pre-incapacity remuneration – in the event accident or sickness prevents you from earning.
  • Many people use Income Protection to provide a comprehensive sick pay insurance that is sometimes lacking among those who work for themselves.
  • Income Protection can either be paid for by the business, which is known as Executive Income Protection, or by the insured personally, which is simply Income Protection.
  • Company Directors often take out Executive Income Protection, liking the idea of having their business own and pay for the policy.
  • Executive Income Protection premiums are typically a tax deductible business expense (subject to the approval of your accountant and the local HM Inspectorate of Taxes) and aren’t considered a P11D or benefit in kind.
  • As Executive Income Protection is owned and paid for by the business, the benefit is paid back into the company. This means it’s subject to tax when it is paid out as a replacement for employee remuneration. It is up to the company to distribute the benefit in a tax-efficient manner.
  • For non-Executive Income Protection, the premiums aren’t tax deductible as they’re paid for out of post-tax income. However, to compensate, the benefit is usually paid tax-free.

What is Keyman Insurance?

Key Person Insurance protects companies against the risk of a key player in the business dying or developing a serious illness / injury

  • Life Insurance provides a cash lump sum should a key individual die (or is diagnosed with less than 12 months to live under Terminal Illness Cover)
  • Adding Critical Illness Cover to the policy will provide a cash lump sum for business should the key person develop a condition from a set list of serious illnesses / injuries
  • The key person could be anyone within the business responsible for profit generation or who otherwise is vitally important to the ongoing financial and commercial success of the company
  • Key Man Insurance is typically taken out for two main reasons: business continuity purposes (to ensure the business can continue without the input of a key person) or at the stipulation of an investor or lender who wants to protect their interest in your business.
  • For business continuity purposes, the premiums are typically a tax deductible business expense providing they’re taken out on the life on a non-shareholding employee, as these premiums are wholly and exclusively for the benefit of the business. However, the benefit will usually be taxed on a claim, almost like a trading receipt.
  • If Keyman Insurance is to protect a loan, premiums are typically not tax deductible as the premium is for the direct benefit of the lender, not the business. However, the benefit is usually received free from tax.

The tax treatment of Keyman Insurance by HMRC is a complicated area and we recommend you receive detailed advice from your accountant before proceeding with a policy.

Difference between Keyman Insurance and Income Protection

There are a number of key differences between the two policies which we have detailed below.

Key Man Insurance

Income Protection Insurance

Protects the business against the loss of a key individual, either through death or critical illness

Provides individuals, e.g. company directors, with a replacement income if they can’t work

Written on the life of the key individual, but usually owned and paid for by the business

Can be owned and paid for either by the business (Executive Income Protection) or by an individual

Pays out one lump sum on the death or serious injury of a key individual to support the business

Pays a monthly income – either directly to the policyholder or into the business to be distributed to an individual

Can be used to provide business continuity or to provide backing to an investment / corporate loan

Payout can be used however it’s required, typically on everyday expenses such as food and bills

Tax situation is complicated, but premiums can be tax-deductible in certain circumstances

Executive Income Protection premiums are usually tax deductible and aren’t a P11D / benefit in kind

When used to cover a business loan, the benefit is usually tax-free

Executive Income Protection is taxed at point of claim, whereas benefits are tax-free on personal plans

How much you can insure a key individual for will depend on your business metrics and how key they are to the business

You can insure up to 80% of your remuneration in the form of salary and dividends

You add sickness insurance via Critical Illness Cover, which will only pay out if you develop one of a set list of critical conditions of a specified severity

Income Protection is the most comprehensive sickness insurance available and will pay out if anything medically prevents you from doing your specific job subject to your pre-existing medical history

 Sam Barr-Worsfold Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

If you’re looking to protect your business against losses caused by the death or serious illness of a key individual, you need Keyman Insurance.

If you want to protect your own income in case you can’t work to support yourself and your family, you need to look at Income Protection.

Sam Barr-Worsfold
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Need Help? Get Business Protection Advice

Many of our clients are key to the success of their business, especially individuals who are directors of their own limited company, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Keyman Insurance is right for them.

While Key Person Cover plays an important part in ensuring business continuity or protecting a loan or investment, it doesn’t help an individual who finds themselves unable to work in their company due to accident or sickness.

Why Speak to Us?

We started Drewberry™ because we were tired of being treated like a number.

We know that our clients give so much to their businesses. They therefore deserve first class service when it comes protecting that business and their interest in it. Here are just a few reasons why it makes sense to talk to us:

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85 Queen Victoria Street
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125-135 Preston Road
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If you are unhappy with our service, we have a complaints procedure, details of which are available upon request. If you are unhappy with how your complaint has been dealt with, you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS website is

Drewberry Ltd is registered in England and Wales. Companies House No. 06675912

Drewberry Ltd registered office: Telecom House, Preston Road, Brighton, England, BN1 6AF. Telephone 0208 432 7333

Drewberry Ltd (Financial Conduct Authority No. 505473) is an Appointed Representative of Quilter Wealth Limited and Quilter Mortgage Planning

Limited, which are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


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