AIA has undergone two years of extensive trials to gain insights on rehabilitation in life insurance.
“We believe helping to get claimants back to work is a great outcome for the claimant and a win for everyone involved. It improves the morale of the employer and their workplace, and crucially, the claimant themselves,” said Damien Mu, general manager of life insurance at AIA.
The business has done extensive trials over the last two years to gain insights on effective rehabilitation with partners, with a focus on early intervention through planning, restructuring the claims team, and recruitment of allied health professionals to align with its objectives, according to Mu.
He said early intervention by AIA’s rehab and claims teams have led to increased return-to-work rates, either to the same employer or a new employer. There has also been a decreased claims duration.
“Employers have had their staff resume work in a more timely fashion, which means a reduction in human resource and training costs. It also adds a lot of value to staff morale and engagement in the workplace,” said Mu.
AIA’s rehab team consists of six health professionals, including occupational therapists, physiotherapists and rehabilitation counsellors.
“The rehabilitation team coordinates a program to improve the claimant’s chances of recovery, increased abilities and eventually stepping back into the workforce,” said Mu.
This is just one initiative AIA Australia is focusing on with its group partners. Mu said the life insurance industry has experienced a great deal of change and has had to evolve as benefits, number of insured and customer needs have changed.
“This has ultimately resulted in more people being covered, more claims paid and more benefits and innovative features incorporated into products,” Mu said.
He argued there needs to be a continued focus on developing solutions for consumers, in order to ensure more Australian lives are protected, and to maintain relevance.
“This is, of course, easier said than done as there are a raft of challenges facing the life insurance industry, some of which are unique to the Australian market, especially around connecting with Australians about the importance of having life insurance,” he said.
A key challenge is the growing number of claims caused by tighter household budgets and a greater willingness to claim.
Mu thinks the rise in claims is partly due to people carrying out research on the internet or through being made more aware by a growing number of TV adverts.
AIA is responding through a more sophisticated approach to pricing and products to meet the demographic variety in Australia.
The superannuation industry needs to balance adequacy and affordability in group insurance, Mu added.
“It is about ensuring that we are as efficient as possible, that we are leveraging technology to bring down the costs of providing benefits.
“There is a balancing act in terms of adequacy and affordability. It is not an easy one to manage.”
Damien Mu will be speaking the AIA/Conexus Financial Group Insurance Summit on August 13 in Sydney