The big group insurers to industry and other not-for-profit super funds have recommitted to the SuperFriend mental health initiative, cementing the organisation’s work with employers on employee mental health issues. SuperFriend is also about to announce a new framework to improve and standardise the assessment of psychological claims.
The insurers estimate that mental illness accounts for about $160 million a year in income protection and disability claims, putting it in the top three for such claims categories.
Three of Australia’s major group insurers – Hannover Life Re, MLC and AIA Australia – have, in the past month, recommitted to another five years of financial and other support to SuperFriend, which was created by Industry Funds Forum, representing 24 of Australia’s largest industry funds, in 2007.
Damien Mu, the chief executive of AIA Australia, said the insurer’s SuperFriend partnership was integral in achieving best practice in early intervention and rehabilitation with workplace mental health claims.
According to Margo Lydon, the chief executive of SuperFriend, the organisation will continue to expand the number of workplace mental health and wellbeing programs being delivered over the next five years, undertake research and translate the evidence into practical applications for a range of target audiences and continue the promotion and communication of mental health and wellbeing information.
Meanwhile, SuperFriend will announce in early September the results of work developing a best-practice framework of the management of psychological claims by trustees and their insurers. The first of a series of guides will be published following consultations with the insurers, under the banner ‘Taking Action’.
The evidence-based framework is the first of its kind in Australia and provides practical recommendations, SuperFriend says, for improving psychological claims management in both the group insurance and broader personal injury sectors.
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