Don’t let regrets keep you up at night! Rich Horner at MetLife UK

With MetLife research finding 19% of UK parents harbour regrets over not taking out protection policies to support them at times when their children have been ill or injured, Rich Horner, Head of Individual Protection at MetLife, has highlighted why increased awareness about working parents support is vital.

On most days, you get up, get the kids ready for school, and head off to work knowing the work/home life machine is running smoothly. But on other days, things can be more difficult. Your child is feeling unwell, or they’re dealing with an unexpected accident or injury that can throw the machine off balance as you navigate childcare and work commitments. What can really help in these instances is having some kind of safety net so you can prioritise what matters most – your family. Those safety nets exist – and it’s vital that more people know the options that are available.

Our research shows that a fifth (19%) of UK parents regret not taking out a protection policy that would have supported them financially if they needed to take time off work to care for their children when they were unwell or injured. Whether those regrets stem from a need for adequate financial support, to plug gaps in salaries, or help towards medical expenses; it’s clear there’s a need to help parents with the balancing act that comes with children’s illnesses and injuries.

It’s not an unusual situation. 68% of parents have taken time off work or had time away from their own business to care for their children. What’s more, a third of parents (34%) said they’ve had to take unpaid leave, and more than a quarter (28%) have had to use annual leave to cover their children’s needs. In this high-cost and uncertain climate – long-term work absences can have a direct impact on productivity, engagement, and overall mental health and wellbeing; so having a plan in place for any emergency situations in the future is key.

The onus is on the protection industry to cater for those needs. As an industry, we need to be launching products that are affordable, provide a good level of protection for life’s ups and downs, help to reduce emotional and financial stress, and are widely available and accessible to families.

One such example is ChildShield, a product we’re really proud of which directly supports parents financially, and alleviates their worries when accidents and illnesses happen.

From just £6 per month, ChildShield provides financial protection when parents need it – and it covers all children in the family up to 23 years old – including stepchildren and children who no longer live under the same roof. And, because it’s a multi-claim policy, there’s no limit on the number of times a parent can make a claim and there’s no impact on the monthly premium as a result of making a claim either.

At MetLife, we’re closely watching how family lives are changing, but there is always more to be done across the protection industry to ensure all family situations are properly catered to and supported. A big part of this is ensuring products that are available support them in ways they truly need and reflect people’s changing lives.

For example, we know it’s often the case that a typical household will have more than one working adult to meet the increasing cost of day-to-day living, and in some instances, families are holding down multiple jobs to make ends meet. That means that if a parent or child is hit with illness, it can have a significant impact on the family’s finances.

With ChildShield we’re starting to close this protection gap, and provide vital peace of mind at a time when parents and families are struggling financially. We also want to ensure our speed in response continues to meet the needs of working parents, and typically pay valid claims within five working days, so that parents can prioritise their children when the unexpected happens.