Leading the way through insights and innovation: A year in review

Last updated on July 4, 2024
The end of the financial year is a good time to reflect. We’re proud to have served customers and communities across every state and territory in Australia over the last 12 months. Our dedicated team of over 1,700 personal injury employees have worked to drive ongoing improvement and innovative solutions. We’re grateful for the continued trust and support of our customers and partners and look forward to continuing to deliver for you in the year ahead.
Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager Personal Injury, Allianz Australia
Julie Mitchell, Chief General Manager, Personal Injury, Allianz Australia.

The past year has seen dynamic shifts and emerging trends within personal injury. This includes schematic changes in workers' compensation and an even greater focus on mental health within the industry. The evolving nature of the personal injury sector has brought about both challenges and opportunities. 

As part of our commitment to addressing these changes, we’ve undertaken research and increased investment in innovation to provide valuable support to our customers.

Change can be unsettling, but it also presents opportunities. With the recent schematic changes in Western Australia and Victoria aimed at modernising workers’ compensation laws, we’ve taken proactive steps to support our customers. We’ve shared content to help employers in Western Australia and Victoria understand what these legislative changes mean for them. We have ongoing collaboration with regulators, including WorkSafe Victoria, to deliver the best possible outcomes for our customers and partners. 

The scheme change on 30 June 2024 offering NSW mid-sized employers more choice in selecting their workers’ compensation Claims Service Provider is good news for businesses and workers. We’re in support of the sector opening up, giving more employers the freedom to choose Allianz as their workers’ compensation partner. We’re looking forward to helping businesses explore the options that best fit their needs in supporting their employees and will tailor our solutions to deliver the best outcomes.

Continuing trends within the industry keep us laser focused on the topic of mental health. Across personal injury we‘ve experienced an increase in both the volume and complexity of mental injury claims. To support Australian businesses to proactively address these trends, our latest research provides insights into building mentally healthy and diverse workplaces. Our dedicated education series supports employers to navigate the return to work journey after a mental injury.

Allianz is committed to building mentally healthy workplaces. Our employees feel the same, with our ‘Great Place to Work’ certification and recent 'Employer of Choice’ award win at the Insurance Business Awards 2024.

This year marks our seventh series of research into the state of workplace mental health in Australia. We remain committed to sharing our psychological injury insights and practical guidance with Australian workplaces. Our data found that primary psychological workers' compensation claims have nearly doubled since 20191. The average cost of these claims has also increased by 29% over the same period. The main drivers of psychological injury include work-related harassment and bullying, work pressure and work stress or burnout. 

This year our research also explored the diverse needs of the workplace community in terms of gender, generation, culture, and people living with a disability. It considered how this experience interplays with wellbeing. Organisations are facing new challenges to meet the individual needs of diverse employees. Our research showed nearly a third of all employees surveyed felt that their managers lacked compassion2.

The good news is that leaders also recognise the need to become more adaptable and proactive in support of all team members. One in five (21 per cent) surveyed managers said their organisation is taking steps to address unconscious bias in their workplace.

Loud and clear we heard Australian workers ask for improved opportunities for open and transparent conversations about individual workplace needs. The top commitment (39 per cent) employees would like to see from their workplace to improve support for diverse needs and mental wellbeing is clear communication channels to voice workplace concerns. 

Our latest research further explores the empathy gap facing Australian workplaces and practical insights employers can use to help bridge this gap. Read more about our latest research unpacking the new workforce.

I’m a proud board member of the Corporate Mental Health Alliance Australia (CMHAA). This year, Allianz has partnered with CMHAA to offer a free 10-part monthly webinar series of practical courses aimed at improving the return to work from mental injury in Australian workplaces. By providing the right tools and knowledge, you can achieve sustainable recovery and return to work for employees. Register for our Return to Work from Mental Injury Series.

We’ve invested in technology and specialty roles to create efficiencies and value-add for our customers. We’re enhancing our complexity prediction models, which use historical data and trends to identify early claims that have the potential to become more complex. Coupled with our early intervention tool, MyJourney, we can identify needs for more tailored and personalised support for people with more complex injuries. 

After a successful pilot of MyJourney, we’re underway with a nationwide rollout. The optimised screening tools help identify biopsychosocial risks to better support workers. The tool changes the way claims are managed, allowing case managers to holistically understand and respond to the factors that may affect worker’s recovery. With improved return to work timelines, it’s good news for everyone. Read more about MyJourney.

We have partnerships in place to help provide practical and tangible tools and resources for our customers. Motor vehicle accidents often lead to significant mental injuries, including driving phobia, which can prevent people from normal life activities. We’ve developed a tailored program alongside Sydney Phobia Clinic that uses Virtual Reality Therapy to help support drivers who’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident. An independent assessment by the University of New South Wales found that the program had a significant positive effect on psychological recovery. Participants of the program reported great improvements in their independence and ability to return to pre-accident life activities, including driving. This innovative approach has become a standard practice for our case managers. 

We’re connecting with our customers to have more in depth and meaningful discussions based on data and analytics. This not only includes looking at how our portfolios are performing, but providing insights into what our customers can do within their businesses to improve outcomes. 

In June, I joined Allianz International (AZI) in Berlin, a gathering of 200 of Allianz’s most senior leaders from across the globe to discuss strategy. Our focus: delivering exceptional service leadership for our customers and embracing new technologies to drive productivity. The insights gained provided great inspiration to look beyond our horizon, and strive to innovate, and further adapt for our customers. 

Allianz Australia was the sponsor of the Allianz Personal Injury Claims Conference 2024 held in Munich, highlighting our commitment to technical excellence in personal injury claims. Representatives from 16 Allianz Operating Entities with Personal Injury capabilities across the globe met to share data and insights for best practice around proactive claims management. Some of the topics focused on this year include the use of AI, robotics and process mapping for personal injury. This will accelerate our work in integrating new technologies into the Australian personal injury settings.

As a global insurer, and the world’s number one insurance brand for the fifth year in a row, Allianz brings the best of international and local experience together to work on solutions that will improve the outcomes we achieve for customers. As a board member of the Personal Injury Education Foundation (PIEF), we’re excited to come together again in 2024 for the PIEF Conference. We’ll discuss the principles of “Work, Driving and Being Well” which supports PIEF’s strong focus on improving the professional standards and the capability of our sector. 

This year we’re delighted to sponsor Terry Bogyo, who is joining us from Canada. Terry is an independent researcher, speaker, and consultant in compensation and disability management. Terry has a particular focus on artificial intelligence.

I’m looking forward to seeing how we can leverage the best of international and local experience to deliver solutions and outcomes for our customers.

  1. According to Allianz Workers Compensation data, primary psychological workers’ compensation active claim volumes have increased 47.5% from 2019 to 2023.
  2. 31% of surveyed employees state their managers lack empathy or compassion towards their personal circumstances and how they impact their ability to do their job effectively.

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. 

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