Aviva's group income protection rehabilitation team leads the way in expert mental health claims

Article date: 4 November 2013

Aviva’s 20-strong in-house rehabilitation team now offers a uniquely skilled mental health claims service to customers with Group Income Protection, which will help employers manage absence by aiding the recovery and return to work of employees with mental health conditions.

Following the accreditation of two of Aviva’s Rehabilitation Case Managers as Mental Health First Aid Instructors by Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA), Aviva’s entire in-house rehabilitation team has undertaken training in mental health first aid.

Aviva is the first health insurer to join the growing number of organisations in the UK that have undertaken MHFA England’s specialist training, in order to ensure that the right support and expertise is offered to their Group Income Protection customers seeking help for any mental health condition.

The training for the team deepens Aviva’s capability in mental health claims management, and will support an in-house clinical specialist psychiatric nurse and an in-house clinical physiotherapist, as well as a team of dedicated rehabilitation case managers.

Mental health conditions account for the largest number of Group Income Protection claims and rehabilitation support from Aviva (21% of claims to date in 2013), and the insurer has seen the volume of claims for mental health increase by 250% over the last five years. 

The top five causes of mental health claims that are currently in payment under Aviva’s Group Income Protection cover (as at end Sept 2013) are1:

Depression (moderate)           28%

Anxiety                                    11%

Stress                                      10%

Depression (severe)               10%

Bipolar Affective Disorder        8%

According to the Health and Safety Executive, an estimated 10.4 million working days were lost across 2011/12 because of stress and mental health issues2

Steve Bridger, head of group risk for Aviva, says, “Supporting our Group Income Protection customers by helping them to manage mental health issues in the workplace more effectively is very important. We continue to see mental health being the largest cause of absence and, from talking to our customers, it is also the hardest absence for them to manage.

“We therefore felt it valuable to invest further in our in-house rehabilitation specialists and with the whole team now trained in Mental Health First Aid, we can offer our customers expertise and access to the right specialist mental health support to meet their needs.”

Poppy Jaman, CEO of MHFA England says: "By training rehabilitation claims staff to become Mental Health First Aid Instructors, Aviva is making the ultimate investment in the well-being of all those customers it covers on its group health policies - and leading the way within the insurance sector.

“An accredited MHFA Instructor is fully qualified to teach others how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and the best approach to guiding someone to seek appropriate help.  Aviva now has the resources within its organisation to train as many staff as possible, who in turn will have the skills to help customers prevent their mental health problems getting worse, thus aiding recovery and potentially saving lives.”

Mental Health First Aiders are trained to recognise the symptoms of mental health problems and the factors that influence mental wellbeing. Whilst providing initial help by

advising on crisis intervention, Employee Assistance Programmes and support groups that are available to them, they also provide comfort to the individual. With the aim of preventing the mental health problem developing into a more serious state, they are also skilled in guiding the person towards the most appropriate specialist help and providing on-going support throughout the rehabilitation process.

Mental Health First Aid England3 was set up in 2006 by the Department of Health to increase mental health literacy throughout the country and became an independent Community Interest Company in 2009.

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If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Melissa Loughran: Aviva Press Office: 01904 452791: 07800 691947: Melissa.loughran@aviva.co.uk                            

Notes to editors:

1)     Aviva figures show the top five conditions that make up the 21% of mental health claims currently in payment on Aviva’s Group Income Protection cover (as at end Sept 2013).

2)     Health and Safety Executive, Stress and Psychological Disorders in Great Britain 2013 report.

3)     About Mental Health First Aid England CIC: MHFA is the mental health equivalent to First Aid training and provides participants with the skills and confidence to give crisis first aid for suicide and self harm. To date over 55,000 people in the UK are Mental Health First Aid trained. The core principles include: spotting the signs of a mental health problem, helping to stop the distress from getting worse and give confidence in helping someone who is experiencing a problem. More information about MHFA England and courses such as Youth MHFA can be found on its website www.mhfaengland.org or by emailing info@mhfaengland.org

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 34 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2012 we invested £5.7m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 30,000 hours.

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life, especially education. Find out more at www.aviva.co.uk/street-to-school.

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