SuperFriend has joined forces with Australia’s seven largest insurers to find ways of reducing the incidence of mental illness among insurance claimants.

The charity created by industry superannuation funds is currently helping to scope a project to kick off early next year that will have findings by the end of 2014.

The imperative for the move comes as insurers and super funds report soaring claims which are hitting insurer profits and leading to rising premiums.

Margot Lydon, chief executive of SuperFriend, said: “We are trying to give group insurers some better practice guidelines for consideration about how to better support people with mental illness while on claims and how to better identify people who may develop a mental illness whilst on claims.”

The project will explore the member’s experience whilst claiming for income protection for illnesses or injuries unconnected with mental illness and what steps can be taken to reduce the numbers who subsequently develop failing mental health.

It will investigate best practice among insurers in other countries and best practice outside of the insurance space.

“By the end of 2014 we will have some very compelling information for the insurers,” said Lydon.

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