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.”
He adds, “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.
“At the same time, nearly all the psychological providers we were working with seemed unable to stay focused on the issues at hand. Instead they were delving deep into the employees’ past and putting effort into helping them address issues that had no bearing on the incident that had caused them to become unable to work.”
He says, “Over time we decided to appoint The Validium Group 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.”
“Validium isn’t the cheapest provider within the marketplace – but they provide the best expertise and the value they add is worth it. I’d rather pay Validium a higher cost per session and achieve a speedy and effective outcome, than pay a lower sessional fee to someone else for much less progress,” says Spencer.
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.
Spencer says, “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.”
He adds, “We immediately referred the case to Validium, who 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.
“Our research shows that Validium’s clinical expertise has brought about a demonstrable decrease in the time taken to rehabilitate employees after a workplace accident or exposure to a traumatic event,” says Spencer. “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.”
He adds, “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.”
He concludes, “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.”
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.