How we're helping Kiwis get back to work

27 November 2017

There’s much more to an income protection policy than paying premiums and making claims, but rarely do you hear about them.

The personal side to insurance claims, for example, is often untold. The personal side includes the involvement of an experienced Claims Team; helping to develop a customised action plan to get those struggling around claim time back to work.  These may include collaborating with external experts to provide early intervention or return to work programmes, if appropriate.

In this article, we share some of our customer’s stories as they return to doing the work that they love after an unexpected illness.

Why getting back to work’s important

As much as we may complain about our jobs, getting stuck in could result in certain health benefits. Employment may help improve mental health by reducing the risk of depression and other psychological conditions.

The stimulation of work helps keep your brain active, and as long as you get out of your seat a couple of times a day, work’s pretty good for you.

Not to mention the financial security and personal growth benefits too.

How we help Kiwis get back to work

When our customers need us, we’re with them through the journey to get back to work. Depending on the situation, we may use a range of solutions such as psychological treatment, specialised exercise regimes, occupational therapy and vocational retraining, with the aim to motivate them to return to work.

Over the course of the claim or early intervention process we loop in with the customer’s medical specialists and where necessary, the employer, to help. Communication and understanding are our most important tools.

Customer story: Beating hip pain while waiting to claim

One of our corporate customers is a company that has insurance in place for their employees. The plan has a six-month wait period before a claim becomes eligible for payments to start.

In this case, when Gary*, an employee of the company, experienced hip issues at work, impacting his ability to lift and operate machinery, the employer got in touch with us to check if there was anything we could do for Gary during the wait period.

We got involved straight away. After considering Gary’s circumstances, including the medical, functional and job details, it was clear that Gary didn’t need surgery so we set in motion an eight-week supervised exercise programme to reduce his pain and improve his physical condition and confidence.

By the end of the programme Gary was almost back to full health. He returned to full time hours within four months of getting in touch with AMP (still during the wait period) and as a result didn’t need to make a claim. 

Customer story: Arthritis doesn’t mean the end for this builder

Bruce* is a builder in his mid 50's.

He lodged a claim following injuries and the development of osteo-arthritis to both knees, and after being told his only solution was to get two knee replacements it was unlikely that he would ever build again.

To help with the devastating prospect of not continuing in a trade honed over years of hard slog, we made a lump sum payment and then did things a little differently.

Initially, we worked with Bruce to consider if there were other work options that would utilise his skillset and passion for the industry - possibly working ‘off the tools’ as a project manager or selling building products. However, we managed to go one better. We set him up with an exercise programme and a new diet; helping him lose weight, sleep better and eventually return to building.

Giving Bruce his life back meant so much more to him than just a benefit payment every month.

Every single claim (or near claim) tells a story

What’s clear from the stories above is that claims are about more than illnesses. They’re about the people impacted and how we can try and soften the impact, through more than just financial support. Our focus is always on the customer as an individual, their circumstance and the type of help that’s right for them.

Because no illness, situation or claim is ever the same, it’s important to recognise that the type of treatments and programmes described in this article might not be right for or available to everyone. Our aim, however, is finding a way to get Kiwis earning again, back to independence and doing what they love.

We think helping them achieve that is the hidden beauty of an income protection policy and the wonderful opportunity we have with our experienced claims team to make a positive difference.

* We’ve changed the names in these stories.

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