Support in many languages: helping diverse claimants

Last updated on March 19, 2024
If you’re an injured worker, navigating a workers’ compensation claim can feel daunting. It can be even more daunting if you come from a multicultural and linguistically diverse background. That’s why we created a specialised case management team to help claimants overcome any additional challenges they face. Reaching an outcome quickly also benefits employers, with increased return to work rates and cost benefits. 
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“Claims management can often be one-size-fits-all,” explains Carl Wilson, Senior Team Manager in Workers' Compensation at Allianz. “At Allianz, we recognise that our customers are diverse and have varied needs that don’t fit the one-size-fits-all approach. We anticipated the specialised needs of vulnerable people, including those from a multicultural and linguistically diverse background.”

In response, our specialised case management team was formed in 2020, to work exclusively with vulnerable and multicultural claimants from small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) in Victoria. Our customers’ preferred languages are varied, ranging from Mandarin and Vietnamese to Sinhalese, Timorese Hakka and Pashto.

“The team has existing relationships with interpreters and have built a massive knowledge base and tools over the years they’ve been working together,” says Carl.

“We see all kinds of different circumstances and injuries, and together the team receives about five to 10 new claims every week.”

Carl Wilson,
Senior Team Manager

“Vulnerable claimants could have gone through trauma in the past – this may include having fled their country of origin, or experienced racial persecution for example,” explains Carl.

“Often claimants may be untrusting. Because of this, they may have engaged a solicitor before they even approach their employer about their injury. Sometimes, the claim itself is lodged very late – like three or four months after they’ve been injured, which presents its own set of challenges.”

Then, of course, there are the more obvious hurdles – like filling in forms and lodging documents – in a second language.

In many cases, the SME manager or owner is also of a different cultural background. They too may be experiencing some of the same language and cultural barriers as their employees.

“The standard claims process in the insurance industry doesn’t always cater to these circumstances, meaning that without specialised efforts, these claims can become complex and difficult for employers to navigate,” says Carl.

“Whether or not they share a multicultural or linguistically diverse background, employers benefit immensely from the team’s expertise,” Carl points out.

“The way the WorkCover scheme works, the longer and more expensive a claim you have, the higher the future premium will be. So, because our team can work through claims and reach an outcome quickly, there’s a concrete monetary benefit. It’s more efficient.”

While the team caters to small-to-medium sized employers, larger employers also benefit from these measures. “We swap learnings with other claims managers through the broader business,” says Carl.

In 2023, the team were named winners of the WorkSafe Victoria award for Excellence in Recovery – recognising the new ground they’re breaking within the insurance sector.

“Over the course of 2022 and early 2023 our team saw return-to-work rates increase significantly and they’ve held fairly steady since,” points out Carl. “It’s a sign that things are moving in the right direction.”

More broadly, workers' compensation claimants elsewhere can benefit from our insights. While differing state laws mean our specialised team can work with Victorian claimants only, the knowledge we’re generating can be pooled and shared with other Allianz teams too.

“We’re learning a lot, so we share those learnings with other teams who can use them to benefit customers around Australia,” says Carl.

The creation of our specialised team forms part of a wider long-term Allianz plan to support customers experiencing vulnerability. Other initiatives we’ve implemented in the personal injury space include, integrating system flags to identify customers experiencing vulnerability and embedding a best practice framework for how we respond. This includes specific training for our case management teams, so our staff can recognise and respond to those customers in need of extra support.

This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). Information contained in this article is accurate as at 19/03/2024 and may be subject to change. 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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