Leading life insurer AIA Australia today announced a renewed partnership with Mental Health Foundation SuperFriend, committing five more years of funding to educate individuals, employers and workplaces about improving and maintaining their mental health.

SuperFriend is a national initiative aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of “all profit to member” superannuation fund members, employers and staff. SuperFriend’s mission is to reduce the incidence of suicide and the impact of mental illness on individuals, employers, workplaces, friends and families.

AIA Australia, the largest group insurer of life insurance, covers over a quarter of all superannuation fund members across the country. The company first signed with SuperFriend in 2006, as part of its push to provide targeted intervention, support and assistance for members suffering from mental health issues. Mental illness is one of the top three claims in the life insurance industry, estimated to cost around $160 million dollars a year in income protection and disability claims.

Over the last year, AIA Australia has had representation on SuperFriend’s Sub-Committee to assist with its project to develop Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of Psychological Claims. The Sub-Committee has been involved in working with SuperFriend and their research team reviewing literature and developing best practice for the Life Insurance Industry.

AIA Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Damien Mu, said the insurer’s partnership with SuperFriend was integral to achieving best practice in early intervention and rehabilitation of workplace mental health claims.

“Occupational rehabilitation has been a huge focus for us as a business, and we’ve conducted significant trials in this space to establish the key principles essential for successful intervention and management of workplace illness and injury, particularly mental health,” said Mr Mu.

“By ensuring employers and workers are properly educated in how to identify, understand and manage mental health issues, we are better able to ensure early intervention before these issues start to seriously affect a worker’s everyday life and ability to do their job.”

SuperFriend Chief Executive Officer Margo Lydon said it was commendable to see AIA Australia continuing to take proactive steps for workplace mental health and wellbeing.

“We recognise the positive action AIA Australia has taken to support community care for super fund members who are experiencing or at risk of mental illness,” said Ms Lydon. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with AIA Australia to make a positive impact on mental health outcomes for Australian workers.”

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