Allianz has introduced its High Care Self Care package, a mental health program for its frontline workers encountering and managing vulnerable customers’ cases, with aim to prevent and support any second-hand (vicarious) trauma experienced on the job. Vicarious trauma is a normal response to ongoing exposure and empathetic engagement with people who have experienced trauma (Services, A.G.P.S. and C.C. (2020). .
The Allianz High Care Team – which was set up in July 2020 in response to General Insurance Code of Practice requirements, has marked one year in service – and consists of a team of highly-dedicated contact centre and claims specialists, who undertake additional training to better support customers identified as experiencing vulnerabilities. These include but are not limited to family violence, extreme financial hardship or mental health conditions.
Since launch, the Allianz High Care Team has supported 250 customers experiencing vulnerabilities between July 2020 and July 2021 – family violence (74 per cent), mental health (14 per cent) and multiple vulnerabilities (11 per cent). Between July 2020 to February 2021, an average of 15 customers per month were supported by the Allianz High Care Team. However, since March 2021, Allianz has observed an increase of 70 per cent in the number of customers supported by Allianz’s High Care Team, with the average number of customers increasing to 26 each month.
In response, Allianz has developed the Self Care package to support its frontline workers, consisting of online, second-hand trauma training by a specialist provider, a regular team psychologist round-table session and dedicated resources including the employee assistance program (EAP). The program is in recognition that the Allianz High Care Team require additional emotional and mental health support, and is part of Allianz’s commitment to the safety and wellbeing of all people – spanning customers and employees. The suite of services aims to support workers identify signs of vicarious trauma, equip them with strategies on how to manage it, and offer access to professionals who can also provide guidance and strategies for self-care.
Allianz Australia, General Manager, Customer Advocacy, Sema Musson said, “At Allianz, the safety of our people is paramount. Given the complexity and sensitivity of the subject matter our High Care team encounter, we understand the additional layer of emotional strength required to conduct their day-to-day, or be able to switch off from their work. We need to support our people so they can support our customers who are experiencing vulnerability. The Self Care package has been designed based on the needs of our specialist High Care staff, and recommendations from the industry. However, the need has been heightened given the month-by-month growth in customers supported by our High Care Team.”
“Whilst this increase could be attributed to the increased awareness amongst our frontline team members to identify signs of customers experiencing vulnerability, we also believe the current environment is playing a role. There are a number of states and territories recently or currently experiencing lockdowns, and the entire nation is facing restricted movement. Given the challenging and uncertain times we are facing, as an insurer we are dedicated to continually evolving our available resources to better provide both our customers and our people with support and security.”
Allianz Australia is proud to have protected Australians for over 100 years and is committed to providing confidence in tomorrow. The Allianz High Care Team work in parallel with the claims and policy servicing teams to provide a tailored case management claims experience to offer support to customers who are experiencing vulnerability. The High Care Team is the central point of contact for the customers experiencing vulnerability – they protect their privacy, provide support and are the one point of contact to the customer on their claims journey, or for help with their policy. The High Care Team also collaborates across the Allianz business to consider policy coverage decisions and provide flexible support options for customers; and considers what external support services can be offered, as well as any relevant referrals, including referring customers to the partnership with Uniting Vic Tas through their program, CareRing.