Women can’t rely on their employer to provide financial safety net

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  • Nearly half (48%) of working women in the UK lack vital financial safety net
  • Just 10% of women in the UK with protection insurance automatically receive this from their employer
  • Women must take purchasing protection into their own hands to ensure loved ones are protected in the event of serious illness or death

Nearly half (48%) of working women* in the UK don’t have any form of protection policy in place according to the findings of Aegon’s ‘Protection Matters’ report. The report finds that just 10% of women with protection automatically receive this through their workplace, highlighting the need for women to seek out personal protection by speaking to a financial adviser.

Protection is important to women when looking at job roles. Over two in five (44%) women asked their current employer about its provision as a workplace benefit and nearly a third (32%) said it was a key decision-making factor. However, the importance women place on this doesn’t seem to be matched by employer provision, with many leaving women to take protection insurance into their own hands. In many ways this is understandable given the breadth of responsibilities employers have in areas like pensions. As a result it’s clear that advisers play a key role in encouraging take up of protection, with 15% of working women taking out protection insurance following a recommendation by a mortgage provider or financial adviser.

Despite this, a clear gap remains between women’s financial priorities and their levels of protection. Nearly half (46%) of women believe it’s solely their responsibility to financially support their family should the unexpected happen, and without the safety net protection provides, many would be forced to turn to their partner’s income, savings or government benefits. However, with over half (51%) of working women being the main breadwinner in the family, it’s likely that this would place significant pressure on their loved one’s income or savings.

Protection insurance can take away this financial worry. Policies such as life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover can provide vital financial support in times of need. This can help families to continue making mortgage or rent payments, and keep up with their day-to-day expenses, to maintain as ‘normal’ a life as possible while they focus on their recovery or coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. It could also protect people’s retirement saving for the future. One in four (24%) women view a workplace pension as the number one benefit an employer can offer, but time off due to serious illness can prevent pension payments being made. A protection policy can guard against falling behind on pension payments by replacing the income people use to make these contributions, helping to ensure retirement plans are not put at risk.

Stephen Crosbie, Protection Director, Aegon UK said: “The level of protection among working women is worryingly low and many of these women carry the sole responsibility to financially support their family in the event of unexpected illness or in the worst case, death. Yet, few are taking the steps to protect themselves and their loved ones. The number of employers automatically providing this safety net is surprisingly low and it is therefore vital that women across the country double check with their employers about protection insurance in the workplace and if there is no provision, take it into their own hands.

“Government initiatives such as auto-enrolment have successfully started to close the pensions gap in the UK, but currently there’s little being done to address the protection gap, which emphasises the importance of women taking responsibility for their own protection needs by seeking advice and getting a protection policy to suit their needs. Sorting out your own protection comes with some benefits. A personal protection policy is portable, it moves with you wherever you go − if you’re in work, between employers, or starting a new job, you’ll always be protected. It’s also more tailored than a workplace policy, enabling you to manage the costs, the level of protection and provider. With the help of an adviser you can ensure that you choose the protection cover to best suit your needs.”

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The survey involved an online interview conducted with members of the Censuswide GB panel. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Censuswide plc. Total sample size was 2,051 women, with a total of 1,012 business women which was quantified as a senior manager/professional, director and business owner. Fieldwork was undertaken between 10 and 23 August 2016.

* For the purposes of this release working women excludes female business owners


Further information

Stephanie Melrose

PR Manager
Aegon UK
Tel: 0131 549 6743

Mob: 07740 897 621

Notes to Editors

  •  In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to around two million customers and employs approximately 2,000 staff. More information: https://www.aegon.co.uk
  • As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management company based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty five markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ over 28,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe. Further information: www.aegon.com
  • Aegon is the Lead Partner of British Tennis.

Aegon is a brand name of Scottish Equitable plc. Scottish Equitable plc, registered office: Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh EH12 9SE. Registered in Scotland (No. 144517). Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Financial Services Register number 165548. An Aegon company.www.aegon.co.uk 

© 2017 Aegon UK plc.