Shepherds Friendly is proud to be one of the mutuals that paid out a greater amount to support those with Income Protection plans in 2023. This means that more members were able to maintain their lifestyles and protect their families in difficult times. Income Protection gives financial help to people who are unable to work when something unexpected happens like illness or an injury.

A recent report by the Association of Financial Mutuals (AFM) found that their members, including Shepherds Friendly, paid out over £70 million in claims in 2023 compared to £52 million in 2022. This increase of £18 million shows the growing importance and influence of mutuals in the market. The AFM is the trade body that represents financial mutuals and not-for-profit insurers.

Support for physical and mental health conditions

In 2023, the most common Income Protection claims made to mutuals were for musculoskeletal conditions, like arthritis or broken bones, making up 38% of the total.

But, the number of claims paid out by mutuals for mental health conditions also rose in 2023, increasing from 8% of the total in 2022 to 11% last year. The Office for National Statistics also reported that between 2019 and 2023 the number of people not working due to depression, bad nerves or anxiety rose by 40%. This shows that mental ill health is becoming an increasingly common condition that could require Income Protection Insurance.

What’s a mutual?

A ‘mutual’ is an organisation that is owned by its members, not shareholders. As a mutual, we put our members at the heart of everything we do, and that’s why these statistics are so important to us. They demonstrate that we are committed to being there for them during times of need.

Enhanced Benefits with Income Protection

Taking out one of our Income Protection plans also means you can access a number of extra benefits that can help you secure you and your family’s future, including:

  • Through our partnership with Nuffield Health, and powered by Doctor Care Anywhere, you can access a 24/7 Virtual GP service. This gives you access to a doctor or advanced nurse practitioner wherever you are. You can also use the Nuffield Health Emotional Wellbeing Platform to help keep up or improve your mental health. And, on top of this, when you have made a claim, you can access free physiotherapy and mental wellbeing services to help manage your physical and emotional recovery.
  • So you can start planning their future, we offer a New Child Payment of £250 into a Shepherds Friendly Junior ISA upon the birth or adoption of your child.
  • To help your loved ones in the unfortunate event that you pass away while you have a plan, we offer a Bereavement Payment of £6,000.

Our Senior Claims Manager, Nikki Hargreaves, adds:

“Our mutual ethos means we focus on supporting our Income Protection members when they need us most. Income Protection is arguably the most important financial product a person can have and our focus on paying claims has meant valuable financial support at a very difficult time.”

For more information on our Income Protection Insurance and Enhanced Benefits, you can visit our dedicated page here.

Image by Kevin Lehtla