Australian Catholic Super has developed a two-tier strategy to improve the resilience of its front-line staff in dealing with emotionally intense situations relating to insurance claims.

The mental health of all front-line staff is of concern to the super fund, but those dealing with claims are of a high priority, as they are at higher risk of having mental health impacts, due to the tragic circumstances they have to help members navigate through.

“Those claims that come in from members in sometimes very stressful situations have the potential to relay that stress onto staff,” said Rob Dawson, marketing manager at Australian Catholic Super.

Forty-five per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime, yet only 50 per cent of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy, according to statistics from SuperFriend.

With these as considerations, Tier 1 was designed to be an overarching strategy that applies across all employees, incorporating a number of activities throughout the year that have the objective of building work place resilience. This tier includes:

  • Wide communication of activities
  • Mindfulness program
  • Team building sessions – charity donation
  • Innovation awards
  • Employee assistance program
  • Community volunteering through a Catholic agency
  • Formal appraisal process.

Meanwhile, Tier 2 uses tailored strategies for four different front-line teams (call centre staff, insurance claims staff, business development managers and financial) to target their specific needs.

The program for insurance claims staff includes:

  • Support from SuperFriend
  • Training by psychologist
  • Training in medical terminology
  • Support from the insurer – trained nurses (pilot).

“We involve SuperFriend for training and assistance, and through their contacts with the Australian Psychological Society we engage psychologists to help train our staff in how they should handle those situations,” Dawson said.

“Likewise medical terminology can be confusing. First of all we have recruitment standards with staff, but we also assist in the training of medical terminology they are likely to encounter talking to members.”

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