Brokers, it’s time to get behind your own product pitch
Published by: LifeWorks,
With World Mental Health Awareness Day coming up on October, many insurance professionals will be taking the opportunity to extol the virtues of a well-being solution to their prospective clients. But what is the current state of well-being for those same insurance professionals?
Workers in the banking, insurance and financial services sectors frequently top-out in terms of sectors experiencing the most stress. The BitC Health at Work report 2017 reported that 64% of UK workers in financial services have experienced a mental health issue as a result of working conditions, yet only 34% felt able to discuss their issue.
The situation seems contrary to the positive impact of well-being services being promoted by those in the same sector. Earlier this year employee benefits specialist Unum, a partner of total well-being solution LifeWorks, published its Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) data for the first time. The vast majority, 70% of callers to the service, wanted help with mental health problems, and tellingly, 60% of those were deemed appropriate to be offered counselling. A total of 92% of those saw their mental health improve as a result.
Ambika Fraser, Head of Propositions at Unum, said the firm took the decision to release the figures to increase awareness of the invaluable support that’s available to hundreds of thousands of UK workers, in the hope that the high success rates will encourage more to seek help when they need it.
We know there is a demand for well-being support among the insurance broker community. A cursory glance at the dashboard of LifeWorks customers in the sector shows that content on mental and physical well-being is by far the most popular by topic.
This evidence is supported by another study published earlier this year by Westfield Health, which found that with a rise in workplace-related stress, illnesses and mental health issues, 74% of working adults in the financial services industries believe their employer is not doing enough to support the physical and mental wellbeing of its employees.
So it seems clear that the appetite is there in the financial services industry with employees particularly prone to sedentary behaviour, poor nutrition and sleep deprivation, impacting on their overall health and productivity. As a result, over two thirds (68%) of employees stated they’d use well-being services if their employer provided them.
This brings us to a bigger conversation about where that support comes from. Current treatments such as health check-ups, cognitive behavioural therapy and chiropractic treatment are provided by the NHS, through National Insurance contributions, but 70% of those surveyed by Westfield Health believe that the NHS does not have the budget to provide effective services like these.
This is something we at LifeWorks feel strongly about. Employers have a duty of care, not just to their employees, but to their shareholders and national economies, to invest in their employees’ total well-being and help people build and sustain mental, physical, social and financial wellness.
The total number of UK working days lost to stress, anxiety and depression resulting from long working hours is 12.5 million days per year. So it makes sense for employers to relieve some of the pressure through well-being initiatives. Not only would they be supporting the economy, they can directly impact their bottom line by encouraging preventative maintenance of well-being. With presenteeism now costing businesses up to three times more than absenteeism, it shouldn’t be a hard sell for businesses in the insurance industry.