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Staff Absence Insurance Explained

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that we hear from schools across the country.


Staff absence insurance is a way for schools and academies to protect their budgets from the cost of staff absence, by claiming back when staff are off work.
Your school or academy might need staff absence insurance if staff absences have an impact on your budget. Staff absence insurance will provide budget protection by covering future absences including, with selected policies, known or pre-existing conditions.
If your school historically has a low absence record, you may feel that you don’t require absence insurance. But an historically low level of absences doesn’t necessarily mean the next year will be the same. Sickness and accident absences are unpredictable and can happen at any time, and absence insurance can protect your budget the year the unpredictable happens. If your school does traditionally have a low level of absences, SAS can offer you a tailored policy specific to your school’s needs. For example a policy that gives you protection for longer term absences only, or a budget overspend insurance policy, so you have something in place in case there is an unpredictable high level of absences one year. Finally, remember all SAS policies come with our comprehensive Wellbeing services to prevent and reduce absences, so even if there is a year where absences are low, there is still a lot of value in your policy for the school. We can also offer Wellbeing only services to schools and academies that choose not to use staff absence insurance so that your staff can benefit from comprehensive services designed to prevent and reduce absence, which in turn will benefit your budget.
All SAS and AIS policies are underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway International Insurance Ltd who are an AA+ rated insurer by Standard and Poor. They are the highest financial rated insurer in the staff absence insurance market! An insurance company’s rating indicates its ability to pay policyholders’ claims. Therefore, placing your business with the highest financial rated insurer in this insurance market not only gives you peace of mind, but also the highest level of protection for your budget.
Yes, SAS offer different levels of maternity cover to suit your needs. You can choose from a lump sum cover, which would pay a specified amount for maternity claims based on the staff FTE, or you can choose to cover maternity at net cost. This means that the amount you would receive for maternity claims would be paid at the actual shortfall to the school based on the SAS maternity payments calculator. You can also choose to have different levels of maternity cover for different groups of staff to ensure that your losses are appropriately covered.
A portion (Around 92%) of a salary paid to an employee over the duration of a maternity is claimed back from Inland Revenue and a portion of payments to an employee is made via statutory maternity payments. As an example, the shortfall to the school after funds are claimed back from Inland Revenue for a member of staff earning £25k would be around £3,600. SAS can provide you with a calculator which would help you establish what level of maternity cover you require. Please contact SAS for more info.
Wellbeing services are additional support services offered by SAS and some other staff absence insurance providers. Wellbeing services vary from supplier to supplier. What sets SAS apart is all the physical and mental health support that we offer is managed by our in-house NMC registered nurses and delivered by clinician leaders. SAS are also currently the only provider to include pupil wellbeing services. In 2018/19 SAS spent over £4million on wellbeing services. No other staff absence insurance provider invests as much in wellbeing as Schools Advisory Service. Every year SAS reviews feedback from schools to establish services which could improve staff’s physical or mental health in an effort to supply the most comprehensive services which will have the greatest impact on the wellbeing of your school or academy. Services currently included within our wellbeing service; · Counselling · Physiotherapy · Private Medical Operations · Weight Management with Slimming World · Nurse Support Service from our in-house NMC registered nurses · Menopause Support · 24 hour GP Phone & Video Consultations · Cancer & Chronic Illness Support · On-site Stress Awareness / Mindfulness Sessions · On-site Nurse Health Screening Day · A range of pupil wellbeing services.
Staff wellbeing has been an integral part of SAS policies for decades. We believe that prevention is better than cure, and as such staff don’t need to be absent from work to access our services. Having a comprehensive wellbeing package, that addresses both physical and mental health, is an effective way of providing staff with support when they need it most. It works to prevent any potential absences, reduce periods of absence and get your staff back to the classroom, with the right support, as soon as possible. SAS statistics show that 60% of staff actively remained in work while accessing our comprehensive health and wellbeing services in 2018. Pupil wellbeing services were introduced to SAS policies in 2019, designed with the intent to meet the new Ofsted criteria and to help support schools in making the most positive impact possible on the wellbeing of pupils.
To calculate the FTE of a member of staff, simply divide the number of hours the member of staff works by the number of hours considered to be full time. For teachers, ‘full time’ is considered to be 32.5 hours per week. For support staff, ‘full time’ by many is considered to be 37 hours per week, however this can vary. An example of how to calculate FTE is below: Julie works 28 hours per week as support staff. Full time support staff work 37 hours. 28 / 37 = 0.7567 – Julie’s FTE is 0.76.
Groups such as Multi Academy Trusts, Diocese and Local Authorities, who would prefer to purchase a policy collaboratively, are able to tailor their cover to the requirements of the group whilst benefitting from excellent group discounts. As an example, all schools or academies within the group could have exactly the same cover and their FTEs could be built into one large policy that is centrally managed. Alternatively, the group could have individual policies with varying daily benefits or excess periods, which are all linked to one larger policy, paid for with one invoice. Speak to someone at SAS to discuss your group requirements and how we can help provide you with a policy, built around your specific needs.
You can choose to include ongoing absences, pre-existing conditions or pre-planned operations. If a member of your staff will be absent at the start of your SAS policy or SAS Policy Plus, you can choose to cover the ongoing absence for a period of time. As standard on an SAS policy, a pre-existing condition is any condition which has caused or contributed to more than 5 days absence in the previous 12 months. A pre-planned operation is any procedure for which the member of staff has consulted a doctor in the 12 months prior to the policy. With SAS Policy, schools and academies can choose to include for specific instances of known pre-existing conditions or for pre-planned operations. For schools and academies who wish to cover for all, potentially unknown, pre-existing conditions and pre-planned operations, they can opt for an SAS Policy Plus which covers these instances for insured staff. Any known future or ongoing maternity absences can also be included. Please speak to a member of the SAS team to learn more.
If a member of staff is absent for a long period of time, interim claims payments can be made. Upload medical certificates as you receive them and our claims team will process them as they are received and continue to issue claims payments as the absence continues. For long-term absences, ongoing at the start of a new policy or a renewal, please discuss the absence with a member of the SAS team who will provide you with cover options moving into a new policy.
It can be very difficult to compare staff absence insurance policies like for like. As the market currently stands, many providers offer many different levels of cover with differing wellbeing services. In actuality, you are unlikely to ever be comparing like for like, due to specific policy conditions and exclusions. The most important thing when comparing staff absence insurance policies is to ensure that you are getting the right cover to suit the needs of your school or academy. We would suggest obtaining a copy of the full policy wordings from the providers you are considering and to look at the differentiation in policy exclusions and to any specific terms related to specific conditions (such as maternity or stress related absences). We are happy to discuss our policy with you in detail and go through any of the wording you would like further clarification of. We can, in some instances, highlight where our policies would differ from another provider to enable you to review this in the policy wording.
Policy exclusions can be unclear in some instances and it is important that you fully understand the exclusions that apply to your policy prior to taking this out. Most policies will have a specific section within the policy wording labelled as ‘General Exclusions’, however it is important to review all sections which detail other aspects of cover, including but not limited to; eligibility, reoccurring claims, claims conditions, general definitions and general conditions.
With SAS you can choose to insure your staff against stress related absences for 0 days, 30 days or 190 days (190 being full cover for the policy year). Having a lower number of stress related absence days is one way of reducing the premium of your policy. However, it is entirely dependent on the frequency or likelihood of stress related absences for your school and it is important that you seek cover that best represents your needs. This can differ from provider to provider, so it is important that you understand the cover with other insurers and what exclusions, if any apply to these absences.
Yes, SAS supply cover for pregnancy related illness. For full terms, please see SAS policy wording.
SAS do not require evidence of supply costs in order to make a claim. Some providers may have this as an exclusion within their policy, usually noted in the general conditions, eligibility or the claim conditions.
With an SAS policy, your school or academy can choose to insure any member of staff you require. This can include, but is not limited to; teaching staff, support staff, caretakers, or lunch time supervisors. You can tailor cover specifically to groups of staff, ensuring that the daily benefit, excess period, stress and maternity cover suit the needs of that particular group.
All claims can be reported via the SAS administration portal where you can view outstanding claims, edit existing claims and establish when payments will be made. If you are having problems using the online system, please contact your Account Manager or call 01773 814 400 and select option 2.
Yes, we are regulated by the FCA. You can check our authorisation by visiting the FCA’s website here: https://register.fca.org.uk/ShPo_FirmDetailsPage?id=001b000000MfOdWAAV
Information about our terms, privacy, cookies & complaints policies can be found on our website. To locate this access our home page on www.schooladvice.co.uk scroll to the bottom of the home page and locate these links in our footer.
Here at SAS we have an in-house claims team who process all elements of claims from our customers. Some providers may have a 3rd party to process claims and it is important that you know where your, and your staff’s information is sent and who holds this information.
To contact our in house NMC registered nursing team, please call 01773 814 403. Our Nurses can answer any physical or mental health related queries you may have, along with referring you to any wellbeing services which may help alleviate symptoms of the condition you are querying.
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You can change the staff on your staff list at any point during the year. You can do this by accessing the staff list on the SAS administration portal and removing any staff who have left and add any new staff members who must be added to the policy. Please note you are unable to backdate cover for any new members of staff and charges may be applicable to your staff change. All charges will be calculated to reflect the duration of the current policy that will be affected. Staff added part way through a policy will need to work 10 working days before you are able to claim for them.
Obtaining a quotation with SAS is easy! You can obtain a quotation by filling in our online quote form which can be found by visiting https://quote.sasquoteform.co.uk/ . You can also discuss your requirements with a member of our team by calling 01773 814 400 and selecting option 1 for New Business enquiries, or option 2 for Renewal enquiries. Alternatively, you can email our sales team at sales@uk-sas.co.uk
To obtain a quotation for our Wellbeing Only services you can contact our sales team on 01773 814 400 and select option 1, or alternatively you can email our sales team at sales@uk-sas.co.uk
All SAS clients will have their own dedicated Account Manager who is your first point of contact for any queries you have related to your policy. Upon starting a new policy your Account Manager will email you to say hello and provide you with a few helpful links. Your Account Manager will also telephone you to help you set up your policy administration portal and to assist with any queries you have at the start of your policy. If you are unsure who your Account Manager is, you can contact the team by phoning 01773 814 400 and selecting option 2.
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