A report by Deloitte says that while New Zealand’s life and health insurers are unlikely to face a wave of Covid-19 claims, the stress of job loss has yet to take its toll on the sector.
Shami Shearer is the Deloitte’s Director, Actuarial & Insurance Services and has worked in the life insurance industry for 20 years.
She says that despite $50 billion being ploughed into the economy by the government to save jobs, it can’t save them all.
“We’re likely to see an increase in mental health claims as business owners strive to keep their businesses afloat while employees suffer from reduced job security and, in some cases, reduced pay,” she writes.
“This is a fluid situation and it’s going to take time for insurers to find constructive ways to balance the impact of the increased mental health demands.”
While conceding that many insurers are offering clients premium holidays, she recommends insurers consider how they can reduce financial stress for their customers.
it’s going to take time for insurers to find constructive ways to balance the impact of the increased mental health demands…
She says: “The way forward might not be clear, but in the short term, considering the unique and specific needs of customers is an important way that insurers can respond to the demand for mental health services.
“After all, in this Covid-19 recovery, helping customers with their financial and emotional resilience is the key to supporting their business going forward.”
To support the growing mental health needs of New Zealanders emerging from Covid-19, Lifeline Aotearoa has increased its service capacity thanks to a $150,000 grant from the Nib Foundation, the charitable arm of health insurer Nib New Zealand.
Nib Foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe says: “The pandemic has affected many peoples’ work, livelihoods, living situations, relationships and general levels of stress, so services such as Lifeline are more important than ever in these challenging times.”