An income worth protecting

Protecting your income is probably not the first thing you think about when planning your financial future. But the money you earn through your salary funds everything, from your daily household expenditure, right through to your dreams and passions.

An accident or serious illness, stress or burnout... there are many reasons for not being able to work for a while. According to the 2022 census nearly 190,000 Irish residents were unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability1. And unfortunately, many people who fall ill can no longer pay their regular household costs and experience financial difficulties.

In this blog article we take a deep dive into income protection. We’ll explore Zurich’s recent claims experience, discuss the benefits of income protection and explain why it is especially important for self-employed people.

What is income protection?

We understand that income protection isn’t something people want to think about. It’s only natural to want to shy away from thinking of scenarios in which you get sick or disabled. 

What you might not realise is that you are more likely to need to claim off an income protection policy than any other term policy. It’s there not only to protect the big things, but to make sure you can continue to enjoy the lifestyle you are used to.

Many of us are aware of the risk to our salary through redundancy. But most people who lose their job through redundancy reset and find something new – so perhaps their finances are only thrown off kilter for a short-period.

But what happens in scenarios where you get sick or disabled? This can have far more wide-reaching consequences – an illness might not be short-term and could have the effect of putting your entire financial future in jeopardy. That’s why we believe that income protection is so important. It’s an insurance policy for your finances and it protects your financial future should you be unable to work due to illness or disability. It’s there not only to protect the big things, but also to make sure that you can continue to enjoy the lifestyle you are used to today and one to look forward to in the future.

Why is income protection important for the self-employed and freelance workers

Close to 332,000 Irish workers are self-employed2. This group is extremely diverse and can be found in every corner of the economy. Self-employed workers work in construction, in healthcare, practice law, run pubs, and local shops. The number of freelancers has been growing steadily and has become a significant force in the Irish economy.

Lifelong employees are no longer the norm. Whereas many highly skilled workers used to have the security of a permanent contract, fixed-term contracts or even ‘gigs’ are on the rise as new generations of workers enter the workforce. Research by McKinsey shows that 72% of millennials would like to eventually become self-employed3 and now that Zoomers (also known as Generation Z) are entering the workforce the landscape is due to change again. Zoomers are digital natives that learnt to work from home at a young age given the experience that Covid had on them while they were still in school.

Zurich’s claims experience

Zurich’s most recent income protection plan is relatively new, we’ve been paying IP claims for 40 years. In 2022 we dealt with over 360 individual claimants, and we are currently paying almost €9 million annually in claims4.

One of our strengths is our ‘early intervention and rehabilitation’ programme, which may help you get back on their feet faster and return to a normal way of life.  And if you return to work on a reduced salary – whether in the same occupation or an alternative occupation – you may be eligible for a proportionate benefit payment.

Supporting you and your family

Income protection from Zurich supports you, so you can keep supporting yourself and your family. No two people are the same, nor are their protection needs. That’s why Zurich provides you with several options to build a policy around your needs. If you’re unsure what your needs are find out more here. 

When it comes to, Zurich is committed to doing the best we can for our customers. So, if you’d like to take the next step, get in touch today. Find a financial advisor located near you in Ireland or  get in touch with Zurich’s financial advisors to discuss your income protection needs.  


1Central Statistics Office, Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2022

2Central Statistics Office, 2023

3McKinsey Global Institute, “Independent work: Choice, Necessity, and the Gig Economy”, 2016

4Zurich Life, March 2023


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