Home News 2021 vision: Unum enhances Optical proposition after difficult year for UK eye health and increase in screen time
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2021 vision: Unum enhances Optical proposition after difficult year for UK eye health and increase in screen time

by maria
  • More screen time for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic[1] wasn’t easy on the nation’s eyes[2] — optical health must sit high on corporate agendas with anticipated rise of hybrid working
  • Unum makes four new levels of cover available with its Optical insurance
  • A claims portal which aims to make claiming more convenient than using paper forms
  • Policy pays towards eye tests, lenses and frames (including contact lenses, off-the-shelf reading glasses and digital protection lenses)[3]
  • Policyholders receive immediate eligibility to claim even if they have pre-existing conditions (excluding accidents which occurred before the cover started)

Unum has extended its Optical cover to offer greater choice and a more comprehensive policy along with a multi-product discount*. The product overhaul comes as the employee benefits provider looks to bring awareness of the importance of good optical heath at a time when prolonged remote working has led to increased screen time for almost half of workers[4] – and with hybrid working set to become the norm for much of the UK going forward.

Of those workers whose screen time had increased during the pandemic, 42% felt it had negatively affected their sight, with 39% having trouble reading as a result[5]. Without regular breaks and appropriate eyewear for those who need it, additional screen time can lead to optical health issues, including dry or strained eyes, blurred vision and headaches[6].

With this in mind, Unum’s enhancements include:

  • Immediate eligibility to claim for eye tests, lenses and frames paid for after the date the policy goes live
  • Ability to claim for more expenses and pre-existing conditions (excluding accidents which occurred before the cover started)
  • The freedom to visit any optician and buy frames and lenses from any provider — anywhere
  • An improved and online claims management process to speed up reimbursements
  • A one-off benefit of £10,000 in the event of loss of sight as a result of an accident (can only be claimed once in the lifetime of an insured adult under the optical policy)
  • A 10%* discount for employers who take Optical and Dental cover together, both for new and existing customers
  • Flexible Optical cover on both an employer- and employee-funded basis.

All this is important because elements of remote working could remain in place for some time in the new hybrid working environment. Employees will therefore still rely on technology both in and out of the office, potentially causing new or worsened optical health issues if regular eye tests and check-ups are not easily accessible.

Unum’s extended Optical proposition offers a solution to fit a range of budgets and requirements.

Glenn Thompson, Chief Distribution Officer at Unum UK comments,“Given the risks that exist to optical health from screen time, the concern is that, with UK employees reporting a 25% increase in their workload and being online for an additional two hours a day during lockdown, optical health issues may soon be on the rise.

“As the UK starts to transition into hybrid working, we hope to bring about more awareness to the importance of employers facilitating easy access to regular eye tests for their staff, as well as encouraging employees to take an active interest in their optical health. As always, we will continue to provide additional support to all employers who have a legal obligation to arrange and pay for regular eye tests for ‘display screen equipment’ user employees, if requested.”

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