The rise of the GIG worker

A fairly recent term that is often used in the press is a GIG worker, but just what does this mean? According to one definition it is a “labour market characterised by the prevalence of …

gig worker

A fairly recent term that is often used in the press is a GIG worker, but just what does this mean? According to one definition it is a “labour market characterised by the prevalence of short -term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs.” It’s estimated in the UK that five million people are employed in this type of capacity which is a 45% rise since 2000.

The increased demand for services such as Uber, AirBnB and Deliveroo have created this new and dynamic workforce that can essentially book their business online like a ‘gig’.  The internet allows many people now to work from home and work as a project manager of their own time. The working environment is flexible, adaptable and suits many working individuals in the UK. Gig workers are described as self-employed or casual earners and can be people working extra part time hours to supplement their income.

A survey by RSA, estimated that of the gig economy, 28% were employed in accountancy, legal advice and other consultancy work and actually only 9% in the delivery and courier work which shows the breadth and the variety of people now employed in this way. Other examples include people near retirement taking on some extra work as a hobby or a way of earning for savings.

Gig employees and financial protection?

A recent survey by Zurich has found that only 2% of gig workers have financial protection via their company which means should they be out of work due to sickness or accident they would not be financially protected. The majority of gig workers would have to rely entirely on their own financial backup should they become unable to work. They would need to rely on state benefits, sell personal possessions or even ask family members to help. The need to seek advice is crucial and this is where a specialist broker can help.

What do A-Plan Life and Health have to say?

Martin Hedicker, Income Protection Team Manager says,

“Gig workers need to seek specialist income protection advice. Our team of highly trained advisors will be able to provide clients with tailored advice to suit their own set of circumstances. What may be appropriate for one gig worker will not suit another. A number of insurers on our panel will look to insure a gig worker, it’s all about understanding their insurance need and risk. We have seen an increase of gig workers and zero-hour contract workers seeking insurance advice and we have been able to provide them with a quote for the best insurance product to suit their needs.

In terms of products, we can help them find cover for accident and sickness and permanent medical insurance. A gig worker however cannot easily purchase unemployment cover, due to the very nature of how a gig worker is employed, but the industry changes rapidly so people should regularly seek advice.”

Example* of how a GIG worker could get cover for accident and sickness

Mr Hollister is a gig worker employed within the accountancy industry. He earns £25,000 a year with various different short-term contracts.  Mr Hollister came to us looking for accident and sickness insurance. We were able to talk him through the options available and by asking the right questions give him the advice to put him on a Permanent Health Insurance policy covering him for £1000 per month should he be unable to work due to accident or sickness.

GIG worker and income protectionWhat three things are important to know

1. Current contract length

2. Contracted hours

3. How is the ‘gig’ worker paid?

These three things will help the insurance broker find the product most suited to the needs of the client.

* A fictious example but it demonstrates how a GIG worker could get a PHI policy

To talk to a specialist advisor about accident and sickness insurance please find more information and get a quote on our dedicated webpage.