By Rachel Leong, Senior Manager – Product Technical, Life Insurance, BT
‘Health and wellbeing’ can be multi-faceted, and may relate to an individual’s mental and physical welfare, work and financial situation, and social and support network.
These components of health and wellbeing are interrelated, and therefore an improvement in one area can have a positive impact on another, and vice versa. Hence, it’s an extremely important aspect of our lives, and something that we should focus on.
Innovative insurers are making clients’ journey to health and wellbeing easier, through fixed premium discounts for healthy lives (for new and existing policies), resource portals, and early intervention programs. These early intervention programs can provide better health and wellbeing outcomes for policyholders and may also provide an earlier chance to return to satisfying work and a sense of normality.
Jane Hamilton1 was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on 5 June 2017, just before embarking on a new self-employed career in health and wellness. She underwent a lumpectomy three weeks after notifying her insurer about her claim and commenced a vigorous chemotherapy program scheduled for six months. A claims consultant who was assisting Jane suggested that she speak to her insurer’s health support team about how they can assist her with her recovery whilst she was undergoing her rigorous treatment program.
The outcome of Jane’s health support program
The health support team offered Jane one-to-one coaching with oncology experts and phone-based support with the internal health support team, until her radiation treatment was due to be completed in early 2018.
Unfortunately, Jane received terrible news two weeks before her scheduled double mastectomy surgery in February 2018. She had developed a secondary cardiac condition – heart failure as a result of a poor reaction to her chemotherapy treatment. This left Jane feeling overwhelmed about her health and wellbeing and it was identified that further services might be able to assist her recovery.
The health support team offered Jane the opportunity to help define the support she knew would be useful, which empowered her to take control of her own recovery.
The following services were offered to Jane:
- Domestic assistance – general house-cleaning and maintenance of her property for one month following her double mastectomy;
- A recliner chair to assist with sleep after the surgery;
- Exercise physiology for post-cancer recovery and assistance to manage her cardiac health and return to good work;
- Referral to a local external provider, a leader in business coaching in Adelaide, to progress the planning of her new business; and
- Ongoing internal health support and claims monitoring to coach Jane towards her goals for recovery and return to good work.
Return to life and work
In July 2018, Jane felt that she had sufficiently recovered to fulfil the requirements of her new role and business. She reported great satisfaction with the services of the business coach, and therefore decided to close her claim. Despite her return to work in July, the claims and health support team continued to offer recovery services with an exercise physiologist to ensure that her return to work would be durable and sustainable.
The idea of health and wellbeing as being a fundamental aspect of life is something that has become more prominent in the wider community, and therefore better understood by clients. Progressive life insurers are embracing the same concept through fixed healthy life discounts, resources, early intervention programs and understanding the value of satisfying work – to achieve the best health outcome for your clients.
1 Not the customer's real name, to protect her privacy.
This article was prepared by BT, a part of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714. This information is current as at 2 July 2019.
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