Life and health insurance industry takes leadership role in promoting mental
health in the workplace

TORONTO, Oct. 27 /CNW/ - Canada's life and health insurance industry has taken a leadership role by committing to a strategy to address the issue of mental health in the workplace.

"The life and health insurance industry has clearly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the mental health of Canadian workers," said Frank Swedlove, President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. "One of our primary goals is to raise the profile of mental health issues and bring increasing awareness of its importance to the work environment as well as to all Canadians," he added.

Canadian life and health insurers have committed to adopting a mental health strategy that incorporates principles that establish the benchmarks for best practices in the industry. These five principles embrace: working to improve knowledge and awareness of the impact of mental health in the workplace; encouraging development and promotion of best practices and programs; supporting practices that facilitate prevention, early detection and intervention; promoting fair and effective disability management practices; and focusing on products and services that address the needs and issues related to mental health. The principles and some illustrations of practices are set out in the attached document.

The life and health insurance industry's mental health guiding principles are designed to provide a set of standards and best practices that contribute to health and productivity. It also encourages continuous improvements over time and lays the foundation for the industry to play an active role as part of the solution.

As the principal provider in Canada of individual and group benefits products and services, the industry plays a significant role in wellness, disease prevention and in supporting recovery. Canadian life and health insurers paid out $5.4 billion in disability benefits under group contracts in 2008. As well, the industry is itself a major employer, with more than 131,900 Canadians working in the industry.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry provides a wide range of financial security products, including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance, to about 26 million Canadians and their dependants. Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada's life and health insurance business.

    
              THE CANADIAN LIFE AND HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY'S
                        GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO SUPPORT
                     GOOD MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE

    In order to demonstrate leadership to support good mental health in
Canada, based on the nature of their business, CLHIA member companies commit
to adopting a mental health strategy that incorporates the five principles
that establish the benchmarks for best practices in the industry.

    The five guiding principles that have been adopted by the CLHIA follow:

    I.  To work to improve knowledge and awareness of the impact of mental
        health in the workplace.

    II. To encourage development and promotion of best practices and programs
        for a mentally healthy workplace.

    III.To work collaboratively with stakeholders to reduce mental health
        related disabilities through prevention, early detection and
        intervention and by supporting recovery and return to work.

    IV. To use disability management practices that are fair and effective in
        dealing with all disabilities including those involving mental health
        issues.

    V.  To work to promote products and services that address the needs and
        issues related to mental health.

    ILLUSTRATIONS SUPPORTING THESE GUIDING PRINCIPLES

    Our member companies can fulfill these objectives in many ways including
by:

    Make Information Available

    -   making information about mental health available in one or more
        formats brochures, websites, training sessions, programs, endorsing
        or disseminating CMHA or other recognized materials, supporting
        awareness campaigns, etc., hence creating awareness to reduce the
        stigma of mental health concerns in the workplace.

    -   sharing data to demonstrate the societal costs and productivity
        losses of mental health issues.

    Support Early Intervention

    -   promoting the value of early intervention through wellness programs,
        Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and other disease and absence
        management programs for early mental health care.

    Work with Stakeholders

    -   assisting employers to make well informed decisions for the
        investment of resources to cope with mental health related issues and
        to reduce lost productivity costs related to absenteeism and
        presenteism.

    -   working with each stakeholder (health care professional, employer,
        individual) to reduce mental health related disabilities by
        supporting recovery and return to work and encouraging healthy work
        environments.

    Fair and Equitable Claims Practices

    -   committing to fair and equitable claims practices for all
        disabilities regardless of physical or mental origin.

    -   applying sensitivity in communications on mental health issues and
        acting accordingly in their claims functions.

    -   recognizing the need for specialized claims handling and medically
        current underwriting procedures for those with mental disabilities.

    Products and Services

    -   continuing to make products and services available that are an
        important part of the solution for a good mental health strategy.

    -   working to ensure best coordination of health and disability
        coverages to optimize recovery.

    -   ensuring that plan sponsors are fully aware of the products available
        to their employees.

    Value Own Employees

    -   ensuring that a good mental health strategy is adopted for the
        insurer's own employees.

    Standards and Best Practices

    -   developing a set of standards and best practices designed to
        contribute to health and productivity improvements related to mental
        health issues.

    -   supporting best management practices to encourage good mental health
        in the workplace.

    -   continuing to encourage improvements over time and play an active
        role as a part of the solution.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mental Health Guiding Principles May 15, 2009
    

SOURCE Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.

For further information: For further information: Media enquiries: Wendy Hope, Vice President, External Relations, (416) 777-2221 or (613) 230-0031; Claude Di Stasio, Vice President, Quebec Affairs, (514) 845-9004


Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890