Working towards wellbeing

Swiss Re initiative recognised for helping mental health claimants back to work.

Encouraging income protection – sometimes referred to as ‘disability insurance’ – claimants back to work quickly after illness or injury is important for all parties. For the claimant it’s a key part of their rehabilitation and there are clear merits to returning to a full salary. For the employer, their productivity can be maintained. Finally, for the insurer, it means they will have to pay a claim for less time, meaning that other policyholder premiums might benefit because of improved inception and termination rates.


What's more, an efficient and customer-centric claims process will result in increased consumer confidence and could motivate others to protect themselves against unforeseen financial misfortune.


To get people back to work quickly, intervening early before a condition becomes more serious can have huge benefits. This is certainly the case with many conditions, although there’s not enough evidence to prove it necessarily works for mental illness. According to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, the total cost to UK employers of mental health problems among their staff is estimated to be GBP 26 billion each year.


The importance of work

For mild to moderate mental health issues, returning to work is important for the claimant's wellbeing. Not only can it help provide a sense of worth and focus, but it might also prevent their condition becoming longer term.


With this in mind, Swiss Re teamed up with major client HSBC and rehabilitation specialist organisation Rehab Works to create an early intervention initiative to benefit mental health claimants. It aims to drive rehabilitation development within the life and health industry, to promote health and wellbeing, to proactively manage claims, and to assist people to stay in work or return to work earlier.


Funding rehabilitation intervention within a deferred period – even before a claim is made – can get people back to work faster and prevent increasing insurance claims.


Recognition for an innovative approach

This approach was recognised by Post Magazine, which awarded Swiss Re, HSBC and Rehab Works the provider award for Rehabilitation Initiative of the Year.


Ian Harvey, Chief Underwriter at HSBC Life comments: "This is fantastic recognition for our service proposition and our partnership with Swiss Re. It demonstrates real added value to our customers during a very traumatic time."


Sally Anne Etienne, Head of Life & Health Claims for Swiss Re in the UK and Ireland, echoes Ian's sentiments: "This is a great example of an insurer and a reinsurer working together to help claimants return to work quickly. Approaches like this increase people's confidence in the insurance industry and this can help address the UK's vast protection gaps. This award recognises our innovative joint approach with HSBC."


Published 5 October 2011