CGU acts on rising workplace mental health claims

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CGU says workplace mental health claims are rising nationally and has taken action to improve its workers’ compensation claims process.

The IAG-owned insurer has also taken steps to provide support for injured workers and employers, such as engaging with external specialists to consider appropriate return-to-work options and promote the mental health benefits of returning to work sooner with right treatment.

CGU says its data show psychological injuries account for 20% of all claims but can drive significantly higher claims costs than physical injury claims alone, and claims costs can quadruple if there are secondary mental injuries.

Psychological claims include primary mental injuries (5%) where the initial claim relates to direct mental health impacts following incidents such as workplace bullying and secondary psychological injuries (15%) which develop due to the impacts of a physical injury on other aspects of a person’s life.

The data is based on claims between 2020 and last year from its workers’ compensation business. CGU provides workers compensation to more than 27,000 Australian businesses in the ACT, the NT, Tasmania and WA.

“The measures we’ve put in place are designed to help deliver a better outcome for employees and their employers,” CGU Workers Compensation Executive Manager Dustin Bartley said.

“While most workers compensation claims relate to physical injuries, our data shows that these can often result in secondary mental health injuries, some of which can be addressed earlier and proactively, for the benefit of injured workers and employers.”

He says workplace accidents happen but there are things that employers can do to reduce the risk and impact of both mental and physical injuries in the workplace.

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“This includes the right safety and induction training, and providing support to injured workers through services like employee assistance programs,” Mr Bartley said.

CGU says its initiatives “come at an important time” for Australian businesses who are battling economy-wide rising costs.

“Through these and other initiatives CGU is already seeing improvements in return-to-work timelines, and in reducing claims periods and costs,” the business said.