WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH, SAYS EXPERT AT METLIFE DISCUSSION PANEL
Sydney March 26, 2019
The financial services industry needs to have open conversations about mental health to reduce stigma, said an expert today at the MetLife Panel Discussion on Mental Health in the Workplace, and called on the industry to provide better training and resources for its leaders.
Speaking before an audience of 90 leading financial services representatives, Margo Lydon, SuperFriend CEO said: “Insurers and super funds are seeing more and more mental health claims, but they mustn’t overlook the wellbeing of their own people. With a quarter suffering high stress and a third concerned about job security, financial services workers are a vulnerable group. People need to be able to talk about what’s going on, they need support from leadership, and leaders themselves need training and resources.”
Ms Lydon made the comments when presenting research conducted by SuperFriend, the workplace mental health and wellbeing partner for the superannuation and insurance industry. The research, which focused on the mental health of the financial services industry and was part of the Indicators of a Thriving Workplace survey, found that while many employers have external employee support programs in place, there is a lack of workplace engagement due to high levels of stress and job insecurity.
Mark Raberger, MetLife Chief Claims Officer and Panel Facilitator said: “We know workplace mental health needs to be addressed. We also know that for our people, particularly claims assessors, it can be stressful helping a customer through this difficult time. That’s why training for these employees is so important – both in terms of providing a caring experience for customers, as well as protecting their own mental wellbeing.”
SuperFriend joined a panel of experts to discuss Mental Health in the Workplace, which included representatives from across the healthcare industry. The panel was brought together by MetLife Australia to drive awareness, share insights, educate and ecourage action from key partners in the industry.
Commenting on the increase in mental health claims, Mr Raberger said: “At MetLife, we’ve seen a substantial increase in Mental Health claims, with 25% of our Income Protection and 21% of our Total and Permanent Disability claims having a primary mental health-related cause. This has effectively doubled over the past six years and it is likely to continue increasing for some time yet.”
SuperFriend's SuperMIND research also showed that over a five-year period, claims related to suicide collectively cost the industry over $200 million p.a. with an average cost per claim of $120,410. Mental illness-related Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) claims cost $147.9 million p.a., at an average cost per claim of $82,960. Claims attributed to mental illness and suicide represented approximately 15% of all insurance claims within superannuation. There was also a much larger, unquantified, portion of insurance claims for physical illness and injury where mental illness was a secondary cause.
Ms Lydon also said, “financial services organisations need to apply best practice to their workplaces if they have any hope of supporting their customers. Look at your policies, capabilities, leadership, culture and connectedness, and think about if they are truly giving your people what they need.”
The MetLife Panel Discussion on Mental Health in the Workplace was held on Tuesday 26 March in Melbourne and included Margo Lydon, CEO, SuperFriend; Jennifer Cameron, Injury Prevention Manager, Workers Insurance, iCare; Dr Susan Palmer, Founder and CEO, Gather My Crew; Sarah Morrison, Workplace & Community Engagement Manager, Mental Health First Aid Australia and Jane Mahon, Founder and CEO, Direct Solutions Rehabilitation & Occupational Services.
An overview of SuperFriend's 2018 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace survey including the Financial and Insurance Services Profile Report can be accessed here. SuperFriend’s SuperMIND research can be accessed here.
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