How Good are Unum’s Additional Benefits Help@hand?

Who Are Unum?

Unum operates in the UK as part of the Unum family of companies, which were originally founded in the US but operate extensively throughout the UK as a major employee benefits provider offering Group Income Protection, Group Life Assurance and Group Critical Illness Cover among other employee benefits.

Available at no additional cost as part of their Group Income Protection Insurance — and as an optional paid addition to their Group Life Insurance and Group Critical Illness Cover — Unum offers Help@hand, an app-based support system that’s designed to reduce employee absence in the workplace.

Peter O'Donnell, Unum UK Chief Executive Officer

We know that access to convenient medical support can be a major challenge for workers and their families.

Employers want to support the health of their workforce and we wanted to offer a service that made a tangible difference. Early treatment can often result in a quicker resolution to a medical condition or problem and bring added peace of mind.

Peter O’Donnell
Unum UK Chief Executive Officer

What is Unum Help@hand?

Unum Help@hand is primarily an employee absence management system that works via an app.

It offers four main benefits:

  • Remote GP
    Offers access to unlimited, face-to-face video conversations with a remote GP based in the UK, with the aim of providing you with a 20 minute appointment within 2 hours of your request. This is available to the insured, their partner and their children (up to the age of 18 or 23 and in full-time education).
  • Second Opinion Service
    Either face-to-face or via video consultation, this offers access to a UK-based specialist for a second opinion on a diagnosis or the treatment plan following the employee’s diagnosis from a treating doctor. A maximum of two consultations per year spread across the insured’s partner and eligible children.
  • Mental Health Support
    Provides up to eight consultations per year (including the initial assessments) shared between the employee and their partner to support with a mental health problem. This takes the form of either in-person video counselling or therapist-supported computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT).
  • Physiotherapy
    Up to eight consultations per year (including the initial assessments) shared between the employee and their partner. This could be either in-person via video consultation or digitally depending on assessment of clinical need.

Drewberry’s Expert Review of Help@hand

Unum offers an impressive suite of benefits with Help@hand. They complement the actual employee benefits they run alongside well and are clearly designed with employees in mind.

Not only do these benefit the employees, however, but they also help employers by keeping workers actively well and therefore at work. There’s been a big rise in presenteeism in recent years, where employees come to work even though they’re not well and therefore don’t perform to their best ability.

86% of UK workers have reportedly observed presenteeism in their organisation in the last 12 months and over a quarter of these report that presenteeism has increased over this period according to HR trade body CIPD.

The app is easy to use and can connect you with your chosen medical professional with just a few taps of a screen. As it’s powered by one single healthcare provider, the service is a joined-up provision of services ensuring a simple, straightforward user experience.

Unum Help@hand screenshots

Remote GP Service

The wait to see an individual’s own GP on the NHS can be days or even weeks. Seeing a doctor as soon as you need to via the Unum app can speed up diagnosis and reduce sickness absence for the employee, benefitting both employee and employer. It can also reduce time taken off work to attend doctor’s appointments, which can be a cause of significant lost hours cumulatively in many workplaces.

Second Medical Opinion Service

Not all branches of the NHS offer access to a specialist for a second opinion on diagnosis or treatment, and even where this is possible there may be a wait to secure an appointment. Having this service therefore offers reassurance for employees and their families, which can go on to increase focus at work and cut absence.

Mental Health Support

Mental health problems are a major cause of claims on Income Protection policies, with poor mental health resulting in thousands of lost working hours per year. Given 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and the wait for counselling and talking therapies on the NHS can be long, having immediate mental health support just when you need it the most can be hugely valuable for employees and reduce absence from poor mental health.

Physiotherapy

Alongside mental health problems, musculoskeletal issues are one of the biggest causes of workplace absence. Help@hand’s physiotherapy service (again physiotherapy can involve a long wait on the NHS) provides an almost instant service once clinical need is determined, which can reduce time spent off work with issues such as back pain. The sessions could make a massive difference to an employee struggling due to work-related pain keeping them out of the office.

Nadeem Farid Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry
Nadeem Farid
Head of Employee Benefits at Drewberry

All in all, this is an impressive package from Unum. With the introduction of physiotherapy and mental health support, Unum is tackling two of the biggest causes of workplace absence head on.

Its remote GP service brings it in line with numerous other providers in the group sphere as well as being an excellent benefit itself.

Any employer with Unum Help@hand should see the benefits in reduced presenteeism and absenteeism and growth in employee engagement, hopefully improving workplace productivity and employee satisfaction across the board.

I've had a professional relationship with Josh Martin, as an adviser, for around 5 years, now. I would fully recommend Drewberry to assist with your financial needs.

Mark Horsfield
15/07/2020
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