Supporting customers in their journey after cancer

An innovative program that helps customers diagnosed with cancer on their recovery pathway toward wellness and 'good' work secured BT Financial Group the 2018 Swiss Re & ALUCA Excellence & Innovation in Return to Work Award.

With improvements in treatment and cancer survivorship, another trend is increasing diagnoses of cancer in customers of working age. For those customers with income protection cover, receiving support to recover and return to 'good' work can be crucial to bridge the gap after discharge from hospital-led treatment. Aware of this, BT Financial Group set about tailoring a cancer assistance program (CAP) to help its customers with cancer to receive the necessary support to assist them to return to work. The CAP is an individually-tailored, early intervention service developed to coordinate a multidisciplinary approach – exercise, diet, psychoeducation1, and vocational assistance.

BT teamed up with external health consultants experienced in the delivery of cancer-related services. They completed an in-depth, personalised assessment of 26 customers followed by coaching and support services during their treatment phase. They also identified at an early stage potential barriers to recovery and return to work.

After six months, all 26 customers are achieving encouraging results:

  • 100 per cent of the participating customers demonstrated an improvement in functional capacity evaluation2;
  • After receiving ‘adjustment to illness’ counselling, 100 per cent of customers reported an improvement in their overall mental health; 
  • 11 customers successfully returned to work, five have achieved their ultimate goal of returning to their pre-disability hours and work, whilst a further six are gradually increasing their hours.

Alexandra Hubbard, Head of Claims L&H at Swiss Re Australia & New Zealand, said Swiss Re was delighted to see a program designed to bring positive, meaningful support to customers with cancer.

"BT has proven the success of their innovative program through quantifiable means in returning customers to 'good' work," Alexandra said.

The 3rd Excellence & Innovation in Return to Work Award aims to showcase innovative claims management and rehabilitation initiatives from within the life insurance industry, with demonstrated benefits to all key parties.

Thank you ALUCA for partnering with Swiss Re on the Excellence & Innovation in Return to Work Award.

Download the award booklet, including all the submission papers.

Carly Van Den Akker (Swiss Re) Ben Crawley (BT) Jim Welsh (ALUCA) Award

1. Psychoeducation refers to the process of providing education and information to people diagnosed with mental health conditions or life-threatening/terminal illnesses and their family members.
2. A functional capacity evaluation is set of tests, practices and observations that are combined to determine the ability of the evaluated person to function in a variety of circumstances, most often employment, in an objective manner.