Allianz Australia’s Regional Claims Specialist program aims to improve the health and wellbeing of government employees who have sustained a work-related injury in rural and remote NSW.
Over the past few years, the topic of holistic health has become a critical social issue. Many employers are embracing this trend and looking for better ways to support their employees. But for people living in regional and rural areas, the lack of direct access to support services remains a challenge.
This gap widened with the pandemic. More regional employees than ever before took time off work, due to a range of issues, and weren’t receiving the same breadth and depth of support as their colleagues in major cities. Making matters worse, being located regionally can also exacerbate a sense of social isolation and negatively impact mental health. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports Australians in remote and very remote areas experience a higher level of disease and injury than those in major cities.
In 2020, Allianz Australia set out to help bridge this gap with the introduction of newly created Regional Claims Specialist roles. These roles are designed to specifically support government employees in remote areas of New South Wales — helping to connect them with hard-to-find services, and ensuring they maintain vitally important community ties.
About the Regional Claims Specialist role
The Regional Claims Specialist role is a first-of-its-kind initiative in both its breadth and scope. It aims to provide much needed in-person access to the expertise of the Allianz team for New South Wales residents who aren’t located near a major city. At present, the Regional Claims Support program offers in-person support for regional areas between the Central Coast, Port Macquarie, and out to Scone.
Dedicated Regional Claims Specialists are embedded within the communities they serve. Their function is providing face-to-face services to directly support workers, helping connect them to the mental health services and holistic health support they need. What’s more, by being physically located in the areas they serve, the Regional Claims Specialists have a deeper understanding of the specific challenges and situations faced by those communities. This means they can identify and address many issues sooner. They have a greater capacity to problem solve, providing comprehensive support for more complex cases, or for those requiring a non-typical or extended approach.
In the three years since the program started, Allianz have seen firsthand the benefits it’s provided for workers and their regional communities. Regional Claims Specialist, Amy Wright, explains, “We’ve been able to provide support with specific workplace challenges and connect workers with a claim to local service providers, in many cases liaising with specialists on the workers behalf.”
When service and understanding matter most
In addition to claims support, the Regional Claims Specialist team offers enhanced customer service with a biopsychosocial, person-centred approach to claims management. They provide face-to-face support for regionally located people, offering recovery goal setting and tailored education throughout the claims process. Better still, because Regional Claims Specialists are located within their communities, they can offer on-site recovery support at work, as well as assisting with worksite health and safety.
Participants involved in the program have openly expressed their appreciation for the support provided, and how it has been delivered in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them. Allianz conducted a survey of participants in December 2022, and 100% of respondents said they felt supported by their Regional Claims Specialist and they found the resources provided helpful and easily accessible. Of the respondents, 85% said the program was worthwhile and they’d recommend it to other injured workers in rural NSW.
The survey revealed areas of the program Allianz can continue to build and improve. Implementing it earlier in a worker’s recovery journey and increasing the number of mental health related resources provided, could deliver greater benefits to participants.
If you’d like to hear more about this offering and how Allianz may be able to assist your workplace, contact your Allianz Client Service Manager or Account Manager.
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). In some cases, information has been provided to Allianz Australia by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.
Any opinions expressed constitute Allianz Australia’s views at the time of issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.