COVID-19 has not only disrupted the workforce, it has also heightened the challenges of recovery for those affected by illness and injury. The AMP Life Income Protection and Recovery teams have created a new rubric for helping customers return to work faster – and the results speak for themselves.
Helping ill and injured customers return to work as is always a key challenge for financial advisers and insurers. But in the age of COVID-19, that challenge is more vital than ever.
The pandemic and its economic consequences have underlined the benefits of maintaining a link to paid employment, and the risks of becoming detached from the workforce. Work is not only essential for financial wellbeing, it also provides a sense of purpose and social connection, at a time when individuals are at risk of feeling increasingly isolated.
There’s also strong evidence that the longer a person is out of the workplace, the harder it is for them to return. And while insurance can provide a financial safety net, it doesn’t cover their full salary, or include superannuation. That’s why getting back to work as soon as possible is crucial.
A rubric for recovery
12 months ago, long before we’d heard of COVID-19, the AMP Life Recovery Team developed The Rubric – a rehabilitation and referral matrix for consistent and targeted decision-making to help ill and injured customers return to work faster. The aim was to develop a personalised strategy for each customer, rapidly connecting them to the services most appropriate to their needs.
Since then, the Recovery Team has referred 649 people to rehabilitation services, helping 200 customers return to work and a further 145 improve their capacity to work – all in less than a year. The Rubric has also led to a 20 percent drop in withdrawal rates from rehabilitation services, thanks to its ability to allow us to better personalise each customer’s rehabilitation program.
“By better understanding our customers, we can identify the right services and tailor a back-to-work plan to suit them,” says Lauren Somers, an AMP Life Recovery Specialist Team Leader. “The more personalised the plan, the more likely it is to succeed.”
Our personalized approach has also helped lessen the potential impact of COVID-19 restrictions on our customers’ recovery journey by creating some innovative solutions. This includes offering rehabilitation services though virtual conferencing technology, home gym equipment to continue their functional exercise programs safely at home, and regular wellbeing check-ins and services to promote their health and wellbeing during this challenging time.
Investing in the most effective rehabilitation upfront helps accelerate recovery and decrease the need for a more extended treatment program.
Focusing on better customer outcomes
This focus on better customer outcomes through personalised support is at the heart of the AMP Life claims management philosophy, according to Amelia Butler, Head of Income Protection Claims.
“Every illness or injury is deeply personal, and everyone’s situation is unique, so we take a very personal approach to claims management,” she says. “By developing a fuller understanding of each claimant’s physical, medical and psychological situation, we gain an insight into their illness or injury, including their perception of how it has affected them. That helps create better outcomes for them, for their advisers, and for the long term sustainability of their income protection cover.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, the claims team has intensified its efforts to support customers in need, ,, improving return to work outcomes for around 70% of clients.
The team has also provided more than 230 hours of support to customers living with a mental health condition – a recognition of the importance of mental wellbeing at a time of heightened societal stress, and of the significant role mental health issues can play in delaying a return to paid employment.
“This is a difficult and anxious time for everyone, but especially for those who have already suffered a mental or physical illness or injury,” says Butler. “That makes it all the more important for us to provide professional support in our customers’ time of need, so they can start the path to recovery.”
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