Allianz sees a surge in secondary mental health conditions

6 March 2018

People injured at work are increasingly likely to suffer from a secondary mental health condition, according to Allianz Australia.

Allianz’s data shows the number of people injured at work who go on to experience a secondary psychological injury has jumped significantly: in NSW alone it has increased by 50% over the past five years.

Speaking at the National Workers' Compensation Summit on 20 February in Sydney, Allianz General Manager Government Services, Mark Pittman, said this highlighted the need for workers' compensation insurers to transform their approach to how they support the recovery of people injured at work.

“A focus on more than just the physical injury is needed to effectively support workers' and reduce the risk of secondary psychological conditions,” Mr Pittman said.

“Isolation is a very real issue for workers in the recovery process – being away from their workplace can cause feelings of identity loss, inability to contribute economically to their households, and feelings of separation from their social networks.”

In response to the surge of mental health issues resulting from workplace injury claims, Allianz has launched an industry-first program that focuses on connecting people with the health benefits of work sooner. The program, known as StartSMART, uses a biopsychosocial approach to assess the worker’s mental readiness to return to health and then provides access to wellness consultants to help the individual take control of their recovery.

“The rising trend of mental health issues shows that the traditional medical approach to supporting worker recovery is flawed. The ideal approach is to review the worker’s situation holistically and account for their injury as well as their wellbeing. Secondly, we need all stakeholders involved in the recovery process working together,” Mr Pittman said.

“In pioneering our SMART programs, we have found that collaboration with employers, health providers as well as the worker has been key to expediting the worker’s recovery. For example, we co-designed our StartSMART program with icare and the NSW Department of Education with early indicators showing more workers are returning to pre-injury duties within four to six weeks of commencing the program.”

Mr Pittman concluded by saying that industry-wide collaboration was critical to developing a new approach to worker recovery: “We need to be doing more than addressing just the physical injury when it comes to workers' compensation. If we can truly collaborate as insurers, employers and employees, we will be able to positively change the workers' compensation experience; we’ll be able to positively change lives.”

For any media enquiries, journalists can contact our Media team.
Allianz Australia has been securing the future of our customers in Australia since 1914. We deliver a wide range of personal and commercial insurance products and services to more than 3 million policyholders. We also provide support for workers' compensation insurance to around 25% of the top 200 ASX companies, making us one of the leading workers' compensation insurers in Australia.

Allianz Australia Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the worldwide Allianz Group. The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with corporate customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life, and health insurance to assistance services, credit insurance and global business insurance. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.
Allianz acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we live and work across Australia. We pay our respect to First Nations Elders past and present.

Any advice here does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits, and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about this insurance, consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)/Policy Wording and Supplementary PDS (if applicable). Where applicable, the PDS/Policy Wording, Supplementary PDS and Target Market Determination (TMD) for this insurance are available on this website. We do not provide any form of advice if you call us to enquire about or purchase a product.

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 is the insurer of any general insurance products offered, and Allianz Australia Life Insurance Limited ABN 27 076 033 782 AFS Licence No. 296559 is the insurer of any life insurance products offered. Each entity is responsible for any statements and representations made about its products, on this website.