Mental health and life insurance

Whitepaper: Insights, research and perspectives from industry experience.

A message from our CEO

For over 150 years, TAL has been helping Australians protect what matters most in their lives and this is reflected in our Purpose to help Australians live a life filled with choices, options and freedoms, no matter what happens. The life insurance industry’s first purpose is to help and support Australians when they need us most; providing valuable financial assistance in times of illness or injury, and providing the necessary support to empower customers to get back to their best possible state of health and wellbeing.

Together with our partners, TAL has an important role to provide support to our customers in their most difficult times, however our opportunity lies beyond the premiums we collect and the claims we pay, to make a greater contribution to the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of our customers and their families.

Our way of life offers greater choices, opportunity and flexibility than ever before enabled by work, technology, our global marketplace and more. However, this modern life for all of its complexities and joy, also brings with it challenges for our community and it’s clear among those complexities there is now a pressing issue, the mental health of Australians. This is especially true given the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Our holistic approach to health

TAL takes a holistic view of health which brings together physical, financial and mental wellbeing of our customers. And while physical health and financial wellbeing remain important objectives for individuals, the importance of maintaining mental health has become a priority for us all. This is evidenced by the Australian Government’s response to the current pandemic of additional investment and support for the mental health of Australians.

For our customers, supporting them through mental health challenges is one of the most important things we can do and is also one of the most significant causes for a life insurance claim. TAL is focused on leading the industry for our customers in identifying, preventing and supporting Australians with mental health conditions as well as ensuring that we can continue to provide sustainable life insurance products into the future. We believe it’s essential to have the right skills and expertise to inform our product development and practices, to reflect evolving clinical best-practice, and to offer our customers the very best support we can.

Leading the industry on mental health

TAL was the first insurer to introduce a dedicated Head of Mental Health to deliver and embed our mental health strategy across our people, our partners and customers, and for the benefit of the wider Australian community. To help TAL drive positive change across our product, underwriting and claims processes, we established a Mental Health Action Group that brings together leading external mental health experts, including those with lived mental health conditions.

We recognise mental illness is a complex area, and we don’t have all the answers. We have partnered with trusted voices like the University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre to stimulate and challenge our thinking, and to allow us to explore alternative risk predictors of mental health conditions. In addition, our work with SuperFriend ensures that we’re using evidence-informed solutions in managing the wellbeing of our customers and our people.

Building a sustainable future

In recent years, the life insurance industry has been challenged to ensure the products we provide remain sustainable, accessible and affordable for our customers. This is an important objective for the communities of the future that we serve. TAL is committed to playing our part, and stepping up to the challenge of helping Australians lead their healthiest lives, physically and mentally.

In this paper we discuss the impact of mental health conditions on the life insurance industry, within Australia and also look globally for insight. Our paper aims to stimulate discussion about a pressing issue: the mental health of our community and the implications for the life insurance industry.

To truly examine this issue, we take a whole of environment approach and outline multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration. From terminology, diagnosis and treatment, to the way we are designing products, addressing support or delivering prevention initiatives.

Most importantly, our aim is to be a valuable contributor to the community and wider stakeholder discussions on better mental health, mental health policy, support and reform.

In this spirit, I am delighted to share with you the insights and research we have gathered to further the conversation. By working together, and taking a holistic approach to mental health, I am confident we will be well placed to support our customers in living the life they love, now and well into future.

Brett Clark
Group CEO & Managing Director

Mental Health and Life Insurance

Mental Health and Life Insurance

Insights, research and perspectives from industry experience.

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