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Be Well. Get Better. Be Supported

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Group Protection, Retail

Vanessa Sallows, Claims & Governance Director, Group Protection, Retail | Legal & General

3 min read Partner content

Wellbeing is primarily centred in the mind, but is also linked with physical health, financial health and social health. Vanessa Sallows, Claims and Governance Director at Legal & General, outlines Legal & General’s comprehensive wellbeing support, putting the employee at the heart of their care package, making sure that expert support is available in the moments that really matter.

Between 2006 and 2019, the proportion of economically inactive 50 to 69 year olds dropped from 43.5% to 35.4%. By early 2020 more focused figures showed that only 283,000 people aged 50 to 64 were economically inactive. But now that number’s climbing back up, recently hitting 1.648 million.

That reverses a long-term labour market trend that benefited not just older people but also our society’s economic health. Without those older workers, the UK could struggle to secure more balanced growth. We can’t afford to see an entire generation, many of whom haven’t reached retirement age, left without work. And it’s not just an economic question; we need to consider their wellbeing too.

That’s the Inactivity Challenge. Of course, no single business can solve it. But we can each do our bit to help bring more older people back into the workplace.

At Legal & General one key initiative is our wellbeing framework, ‘Be Well, Get Better. Be Supported’. The framework is built on a whole-person model that sees getting back into, or staying in ‘good work’, as a key health goal.

Effective vocational rehabilitation is particularly important. It’s reflected in the variety of rehabilitation services we provide through our Group Income Protection (GIP) service. They include care pathways for challenges including mental health problems, work related stress, neurodiversity, cancer care, musculoskeletal issues and relapse prevention.

The programme’s already having a big impact. For example, in 2022:

  • Our internal clinical team carried out 7,155 assessments themselves and funded a further 3,219 with other physiotherapy and psychological healthcare providers.
  • 20% of all UK employees who returned to work before receiving any GIP payments did so thanks to our early intervention and/or vocational rehabilitation services.
  • 92% of employees with GIP mental health claims and 80% with GIP musculoskeletal claims went back to work between the date when they first became absent and the point when their claim would normally become payable.

Our vocational rehabilitation and early intervention results are testament to our whole-person philosophy. It helps intermediaries and employers join the dots between the four pillars of wellbeing – physical, mental, financial and social. We see work and health as being intimately linked.

But it’s more than a decade since there was a green paper on work and health. As we face the Inactivity Challenge, perhaps now’s the time for some focused policy thinking on the vital links between them – with a particular focus on the over-50s currently in work, to reassure them that when long term illness or injury strikes, there’s a facility to help them be well, get better and be supported.

‘Be Well. Get Better. Be Supported.’ in action

Early Intervention. 3,893 employees were referred to our intervention services between 4 weeks and 6 months of absence due to illness or injury. That represents 69% of all absences referred within that timeframe in 2022.

Vocational Rehabilitation. 2,509 employees in long-term absence of more than six months were referred to our vocational rehabilitation services as part of the proactive claims management model enabling people to thrive at work. This represented 36% of total absences of 26 weeks or more during 2022.

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