Every year one of the UK’s leading provider of employers’ liability insurance, Zurich Insurance, is tasked with helping over 2,000 employees to recover from accidents and trauma suffered in the workplace.

“A major challenge is helping employees to recover as quickly as possible,” explains Spencer McCabe, medical management centre manager at Zurich Insurance. “The HR professionals we deal with don’t just want us to issue employees with payout if they suffer an unfortunate accident, or exposure to something traumatic at work – they genuinely want to see the employee helped to recover get back to performing in the workplace.”

An individual’s likelihood of returning to work is less than 50 per cent if absent for more than six months, so rehabilitating employees quickly is a huge priority. Physical injuries are generally quick to heal, psychological issues require specialist expertise.


“When it came to identifying organisations with the ability to help employees recover from workplace trauma and accidents we found psychological services to be quite a woolly area. Most providers were unwilling or unable to commit to how many sessions it would take to rehabilitate a particular individual,” says Spencer.

He says, “Over time we decided to appoint Validium as our sole provider of psychological support because of its consistent ability to stay within the parameters of the instruction to deliver excellent results within an agreed timeframe.”


Typical of the sort of cases referred to Validium by Zurich Insurance was that of a driver who accidentally killed someone while driving his truck for work. The individual who died was suicidal and deliberately jumped out in front of the driver. Even though the death wasn’t the driver’s fault, he started to suffer classic post-traumatic stress symptoms, including intrusive thoughts, sleeplessness and avoidance behaviour. He was also reluctant to get back in his truck, severely limiting his ability to work.

The case was immediately referred to Validium, and we devised a rehabilitation programme, including formalised cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help him overcome his fears in just six sessions. He was back to work within three months.

As well as helping individual employees recover from exposure to traumatic accidents, Validium also provides group support following factory explosions, terror attacks and other traumatic workplace incidents.


“Zurichs’s esearch shows that Validium’s clinical expertise has brought a demonstrable decrease in the time taken to rehabilitate employees after a workplace accident or exposure to a traumatic event. Critical to their success is devising a return-to-work programme to get the employee back to work in a way that supports, rather than hinders, recovery.

Spencer added, “We’ve also been very impressed with the way that Validium reports back to us and works with our HR clients, helping them to lead rehabilitation support and show their responsible and caring side.”

The Future

Validium remains Zurich’s sole provider of psychological services in the UK, helping HR professionals across its commercial and municipal clients to successfully rehabilitate employees.

“Validium’s psychological expertise is outstanding, enabling us to reduce insurance payouts, our HR clients to get their people back to work and individual employees to get their lives back on track.”

Spencer McCabe, Medical Management Centre Manager at Zurich Insurance