PPI - an Invaluable Stress-Busting Tool Says Burgess

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People with financial commitments are regularly reminded to take out payment protection insurance to enable them to continue paying off their debts should redundancy strike, but little attention is being given to the millions who may suffer from a stress-related illness as a result of the recession.

People with financial commitments are regularly reminded to take out payment protection insurance to enable them to continue paying off their debts should redundancy strike, but little attention is being given to the millions who may suffer from a stress-related illness as a result of the recession.

This is the opinion of PPI lobbyist Sara-Ann Burgess from specialist firm Burgesses (http://www.burgesses.com) who says that consumers with mortgages, loans or credit cards are encouraged to ensure they have the means to continue paying their bills should they lose their job, but less emphasis is put upon safeguarding finances in the event of losing an income due to sickness.

Payment Protection Insurance pays claimants a monthly, tax free, pre-agreed amount for up to a year should accident, sickness or unemployment occur and Sara-Ann is fearful that people - in response to an increasing number of job losses - are opting to take out unemployment only cover on their policy.

She comments: "Feedback suggests that stress levels are escalating across the UK so it's wise to opt for accident and sickness cover as well as unemployment - it appears you're just as likely to have your income interrupted because of sickness as you are redundancy."

A view confirmed by researchers from the University of Warwick who recently found that one in five workers - around five million - is believed to suffer from work-related stress. Researchers also suggested some half a million people have experienced stress at a level that made them ill.
Bernard Casey from the University's Institute for Employment Research says the current recession will intensify stress as 'uncertainty itself breeds stress'. And this is why Sara-Ann is urging consumers to cover all eventualities and include accident and sickness as well as unemployment on their cover.

She continues: "This recession isn't just about business, property and jobs, it's the emotional fall out that's incurred as a result of a friend or colleague losing their job, the guilt at having held onto yours, the pressure to perform even better and do more with less people and the need to keep up your attendance rate in case more job cuts are announced.

"No one wants to fall ill and face the possibility of having their income interrupted, but at least PPI removes the stress of not being able to pay bills if something happens. Given stress is the perpetrator of the interrupted income in the first place, it's an invaluable tool which could support you mentally as well as financially. It removes income uncertainty."

Marriage counselling service Relate reported calls received last Christmas were 59% up on the previous year indicating family rows and associated stress are on an upward trend. So too are the number of working days lost because of stress, depression or anxiety.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, 13.5 million days were lost in 2007/2008 - more than the 12.9million days of output lost every year as a result of the 1970s strikes. It also reports 442,000 individuals believe they are experiencing illness from work-related stress.

Sara-Ann concludes: "More and more people appear to be leaving the labour force for longer periods of time so will need some form of financial support to maintain their bill commitments. PPI can do this, but check with your insurer before buying cover. Many of the big players like to exclude certain conditions in the small print, so it pays to shop around. When sourced from a reputable PPI provider, PPI is integral to that stress-busting toolbox. "

Independent provider British Insurance (http://www.britishinsurance.com) was one of the first firms to cover stress and back-related conditions, the most common reasons for sickness absence and excluded on many policies, as well as partial cover on pre-existing conditions.

Premiums are £3.90 per £100 of benefit for accident, sickness and unemployment cover - so a person looking to receive £500 a month in place of a lost or interrupted income - would pay a monthly premium of £19.50.

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