17 Feb 2015 | News

Let’s focus on ‘Return to Wellness’ not ‘Return to Work’

In the last 2 years, I have been able to help over 50 of our clients with their personal insurance claims, totaling over $4 million in paid benefits. During this period I have been able to build solid working relationships with a number of claims assessors in many different insurance companies. This helps to ensure that our clients’ claims are dealt with accurately and efficiently.  Having these relationships has also enabled me to visit a few of these insurance companies to discuss their new initiatives & plans for future claim management.

On my last visit, I learnt of ways in which insurance companies are now looking to help claimants. Over the past few years there has been an increase in mental health claims, which in some cases are as a result of claimants being on a long term claim for a completely unrelated issue. One of the insurance companies is therefore focusing more on ‘returning to wellness’ rather than return to work.   They are looking to have more direct contact with the claimant; checking on how they are travelling and looking at ways in which they may be able to assist in their recovery through social workshops, rehabilitation, counselling, etc.

Below was one of the stories they shared with me of how rehabilitation and retraining can have a positive outcome to a long term claimant;

“During an accident, a client who’s occupation was a tradesperson,  lost one of his legs and was no longer able to work in his trade.  He went through months of rehabilitation to enable him to walk again, and to come to terms with his lost limb.  Luckily he was able to claim on his income protection insurance, which enabled him to continue to support his family during his recovery. 

The months went on and he became socially isolated and was showing signs of early stage depression/mental health.  The insurance company had their psychologist work with him to see if they could jointly come up with a plan for the future, to regain his motivation & focus and eventually get back into the workforce.  Everything that was suggested, he declined, and his depression was causing more social withdrawal.  

Eventually, the insurance company suggested that he meets up with his old work colleagues for smoko a couple of times a week, which he agreed to.  Soon he realised that he missed this interaction and being able to go home to his family and talk about what he had done that day.  After further discussions with the psychologist, it was agreed that he would go back to TAFE to get a teaching qualification in his pre-disability trade.  The insurance company assisted him with this, and once qualified, he went on to become a teacher at the same TAFE College he studied. “

This clearly shows how the intervention of the insurance company’s psychologist was able to assist this claimant.  Do you agree that insurance companies should be involved with the rehabilitation of claimants to assist them in returning to ‘wellness’ quicker?

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