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Protecting Gig Workers from Income Loss

Black and white photograph of cycle courier riding through busy street, highlighted by orange circle

A twisted ankle for a cycle courier. Laryngitis for a temporary customer call operator. Flu for a cabin crew member.

While these may not sound like a big deal, for the individuals affected it can lead to struggles paying the rent, putting food on the table, accessing medical care… being able to afford the crucial things in life. The gig workers in the examples above will be unable to work and will not receive a portion, or any, of their usual income for the duration of their recovery.

This is a huge problem for gig workers globally, who often do not receive employment benefits when unable to work and have difficulty getting income protection. What can people do to safeguard themselves against income loss in the gig economy which is not typically served by income insurance providers? How can this insurance protection gap be filled with micro insurance products such as MiIncome digital reinsurance?

Life happens…

First, let’s consider a few scenarios. These stories could happen to anyone, but can cause real problems for the gig workers.

A cycle courier is also a keen amateur soccer player. One weekend while training he trips and badly sprains his ankle. It’s enough to visit the Emergency Room, and he’s prescribed pain killers and a month of rest to recover – or else risk further damage. Being a gig worker, he needs to be able to complete jobs to earn an income. A month off his bicycle will put a real strain on his finances – he has rent and expenses to pay, and on top of that an outstanding medical bill and prescription pain killers to cover.

Illustration footballer in yellow jersey
Illustration woman in orange dress singing into microphone

An office support temp working as a customer call operator has a fun night out planned. She and her friends visit a karaoke bar, where they serenade the crowd into the early hours. Next morning, she awakes to a burning throat and can barely speak… clearly, she won’t be answering calls today! An online diagnosis suggests laryngitis and that she should rest her voice for at least a week – no matter, she can request to move to a different support role. While this flexibility is convenient, the gap in her income while she is reassigned will not be. With less income for the month, she’ll need to prioritise her expenses and stretch what’s left.

A cabin crew member is home for the week. While visiting family, she picks up a case of flu. Now, airline policy means that she will be grounded until she has recovered. Of course, this means that she will not earn her flight hour bonuses and layover allowances, which she relies on to top up her basic salary. She knows that her basic salary isn’t enough to comfortably live on, so this month is going to be tough on her wallet. She loves her job, but the risk of being grounded and losing income through illness is an aggravation she could do without.

Illustration woman in blue jumper sneezing into tissue

Gig workers are vulnerable to loss of income

Gig workers – employees, contractors, and freelancers in the gig economy, such as those described – rely on their ability to work to make a living. Gaps in income due to injury, illness, and personal reasons are not typically accounted for by their employer. So, while these sorts of jobs can be highly rewarding – providing scalability, flexibility, or even the chance to see the world – ‘when life happens’, workers are vulnerable to fluctuations in income when they are unable to work.

Nobody wants to hide away to avoid unexpected illness and injury, but at the same time everyone needs to safeguard their ability to earn a living.

How can this be solved? One answer is through loss of income cover powered by embedded micro insurance products.

The simple solution for protecting gig worker’s income income from life’s inconveniences

The gig economy comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to applying for personal income protection. Generally, insurers require a minimum number of hours to be worked per week, which those working zero-hour contracts and gig-to-gig are not always able to guarantee. So, it’s often the case that income protection insurance through traditional insurers is simply not accessible. It’s easy to see how an insurance protection gap has formed.

Which is where embedded micro insurance comes into play. This style of insurance isn’t concerned with how many hours a person works, who they work for, or when they work. Micro insurance is generally available to anyone who has a need to access quick payments in order to soften the financial blow an unexpected event. With defined parameters, customers know exactly what they’re covered for and what will trigger a pay-out. This is perfect for gig workers who may suddenly find themselves unable to work.

Loss of income micro insurance products – such as our own MiIncome digital reinsurance solution – are accessed via relevant platforms and services rather than insurance companies. This could be an add-on to a bank’s credit card scheme or as part of a virtual wallet app’s offering. Opt-in products are offered through a customer’s account for a micro premium, which can be leveraged as required – helping them maintain their income through adverse health and events. These embedded insurance products are convenient and affordable, making them a real financial lifeline for those without adequate income protection.

Platform companies can also benefit from implementing an embedded micro insurance solution. Typically, high employee turnover rates are experienced by the gig economy and industries that don’t guarantee sick pay – such as airlines, hospitality, and retail. To counter concerns about income fluctuation, platform companies can offer loss of income schemes as a perk to their employees, enabling them to provide coverage in times of need. This can boost employee retention and job satisfaction, as staff have easy access to income loss cover – making them less likely to get frustrated with income gaps and look for less risky employment elsewhere.

This is where your business comes in!

Support your customers and employees.

Find out more about MiIncome and how we can work together to create a tailored solution for your business, simply send us your email address.

Your business can provide a safety net to your customers and employees with MiIncome

MiIncome is our popular loss of income suite, which looks after people’s personal finances when they’re unable to work – we help our insurance and platform partners put money in people’s pockets. This specialized embedded micro insurance product is designed to offer short-term income security for individuals engaged in full- and part-time jobs, self-employment via independent contracts, gig work, and moonlighting and freelancing while operating through a platform company.

MiIncome supports your own income protection program.

We work with you to tailor MiIncome’s triggers to your company’s specific needs, creating a product that is highly relevant and desirable to your market – whether that’s your customers or employees. MiIncome also has the added benefits of creating an additional revenue stream, differentiating your company and strengthening customer trust and satisfaction in your brand.

The Health trigger has been developed for situations just like those discussed here. In the event of sickness or injury that prevents an insured individual from working, lump sum payments are made to help them cover their essential expenses. This helps mitigate the income gap burden faced by many gig workers, who are now able to recover comfortably without financial woes.

We integrate our MiIncome solution with your company’s platform via API. When a claim is made, it is rapidly assessed and settled* by an AI powered automated process. So long as all the parameters for claim are met, quick payments can be made to our local insurance partners, meaning insured individuals can have money in their pockets fast. This speed of payment is a massive benefit to gig workers – many of which are used to being paid daily or weekly.

Making the best of a bad situation

Being ill or injured and unable to work is a difficult position to be in for anyone, especially for gig workers. With MiIncome in place, insured gig workers have peace of mind that income gaps due to adverse health are covered. As for gig economy employers offering a MiIncome scheme, you can be safe in the knowledge that when your workers are fit to return to work, it will still be with you.

So, for when life happens to your customers and employees, be sure to have a MiIncome solution in place to help them get back to living it!

Tell me more about MiIncome

Thanks for reading our article. To learn more about MiIncome, visit our product page and get in touch with us below to discuss how we can help your business put money in your customers’ and employees’ pockets in their time of need.

Further reading

No Income, No Problem! How MiIncome Enables Customer Support During Income Disruption

MIC Global and The Plateau Group Partner with Grid and Harmonic Insurance Services to Protect American Workers’ Income

MIC Global and The Plateau Group Partner with Leap Financial to Deliver Digital Medical Expense Protection in the USA

* 80% of claims turned around within 48 hours, May–Dec 2023.