With so many Australians impacted by the devastating bushfires this summer, AIA Australia wants to ensure that we’re ready to support our customers when they need us most. We know we have many customers who live in fire affected areas and already have claims with us. In addition to this, we recognise we are likely to receive more claims in coming weeks and months.
There are many different feelings and emotions after a disaster. Many people may feel overwhelmed and distressed but, with time, most can regain a sense of normality. With the right support and information, we can hopefully help our customers make a full recovery.
Some individuals may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a life-threatening experience. While insurers are unable to fund treatment for PTSD, AIA Australia can support our customers to access the right treatment services. We can also supplement treatment with evidence-based initiatives such as exercise programs which improve mood and actually help the body to recover from a severe stress reaction, and mindfulness programs.
AIA Disaster Recovery Program
Our purpose is to make a difference in people’s lives, and with our extensive wellbeing propositions, we have been able to swiftly develop the AIA Disaster Recovery Program to help support our customers through extreme hardship such as bushfires. The program is tailored to the individual, and consists of one or more of the following components:
- Check-in and triage service
- Assistance with accessing bushfire recovery resources
- Education regarding trauma and recovery
- Crisis support services
- Disaster Recovery Mind Coach™ program delivered via tele-health
- RESTORE™ program
Initially, it is important to just connect with our customers and check in with them. We don’t want them to relive their trauma but we do want them to know that we care and we’re here to support them. During this initial contact we will triage their claim and determine what services will be required. There are numerous bushfire recovery services available through federal, state and local governments. Navigating these services can be challenging but we can support customers through this process.
Early intervention and education are key
We know early intervention and education are key to recovery. People respond to traumatic situations differently and sometimes they may think their response is not normal. It’s quite common to feel uneasy or anxious, or to experience mood changes, restlessness, tiredness and have disturbed sleep (Betterhealth, 2017). We help by educating our customers that this is a normal response and they can recover from this.
In the early recovery stage, those affected by the bushfires will need assistance accessing disaster-related entitlements and benefits, assistance managing finances, accommodation support, access to community support groups and community-based treatment. We can support our customers to navigate these services through our crisis support.
Our Disaster Recovery Mind Coach™ program helps customers to connect with their community, engage in physical activity, become more mindful, experience personal growth and encourages them to give back to others and thereby become more connected with their community. When we identify that a customer requires psychological treatment, the program will connect them into the health system to seek evidence-based talking therapy.
We’re also able to help our customers with their recovery through our RESTORE™ program. RESTORE is our holistic wellness program that supports people experiencing depression or anxiety get back to wellness and work. We understand that local communities have been profoundly impacted and one of the ways in which we can assist customers is to get back to paid employment when the business they previously worked for no longer exists due to the bushfires.
There’s no denying the months ahead will be challenging for impacted communities. We’re here to help.
If you would also like to assist, we are encouraging donations to the Australian Red Cross via the AIA Vitality GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/aia-bushfire-fundraiser. Further information on our ongoing sustainability efforts will be released shortly.
Copyright© 2020 AIA Australia Limited (ABN 79 004 837 861 AFSL 230043). This is general information only, without taking into account factors like the objectives, financial situation, needs or personal circumstances of any individual and is not intended to be financial, legal, tax, medical, nutritional, health, fitness or other advice.