Insurer adopts same approach to rehabilitation as group IP for individual income protection policies
Legal & General wants to be ‘notified at the earliest convenience' if an individual income protection (IP) policyholder is off due to sickness or cannot work due to injury.
Historically, for individual IP policies, customers would often wait until after the deferred period - often 23 weeks - before they received any rehabilitative support to get them back to work.
However, for group IP, early intervention services are widely deployed as soon as an issue, such as mental illness or an injury, has been identified. This often means clients can get back to work before a claim kicks in.
L&G has confirmed that is has started to offer its early intervention support and rehabilitation services for individual IP in the same way as it would for group IP.
According to Vanessa Sallows, claims and governance director at Legal & General's group protection, when it comes to helping an IP customer back to work the deferred period is "irrelevant", even for individual polices.
"We really want to get the message out that it doesn't matter how long someone has been off work for or what their deferred period is, L&G can help a customer back to work as soon as they get a sick note," she said.
Sallows admitted that, in the past, the support offered by individual IP had "lagged behind" the services provided by group IP, adding: "I don't want early intervention to be spoken about at the point of claim. Rehabilitation, involving external specialists, can be started as soon as an issue has been brought to our attention."
In May 2019, L&G revealed that through its group income protection (GIP) policies in 2018, the insurer was able to help 631 employees return to work within the deferred period, with a further 269 employees returning to work outside the deferred period with the support of early intervention services.
Mental health issues were the main reason for new GIP claims in 2018 (25%). L&G facilitated almost 3,200 sessions for claimants suffering from physical and mental health conditions to its physiotherapy and psychological provider partners.
Roy McLoughlin, co-chair of the Income Protection Task Force (IPTF), said: "The IPTF warmly applaud this announcement and would urge others to follow suit .
"We have seen from our group colleagues what a phenomenal difference notifying insurers once the illness strikes make and there are numerous anecdotes as to the positivity and good feeling that this creates. HR professionals will regularly tell you that early intervention makes the insurance feel more real and purposeful and thus it becomes a integral and respected benefit. To be able to start the process before the deferral period in individual is in our view a game-changer."
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