GB’s specialised offerings fight mental health challenge

Work related mental health claims are up 40%

GB’s specialised offerings fight mental health challenge


By Daniel Wood

In late 2021 when the world was still crawling out of COVID-19’s clasp, Emma Hosking (pictured above) said a “paradigm shift” was impacting the insurance sector. Gallagher Bassett’s (GB’s) head of government partnerships pointed to technology and customer expectations of quick service but also increasing demand for more personalised offerings.

More than two years later, Insurance Business asked Hosking, what’s changed?

“Gallagher Bassett has continued to focus on and evolve our use of technology to deliver timely and personalised service,” she said. “The new era for successful governing is increasingly underpinned by adopting a people-first approach.”

Mental health: a rising challenge

However, mental health is a significant growing challenge for GB and its government agency customers, said Hosking. Meeting this rising challenge, she said, is a key focus.

“According to Safe Work Australia (SWA), mental health conditions accounted for 9% of all serious claims and 7% of all work-related injuries and illnesses in 2021-22, representing a significant 36.9% increase since 2017-18,” said Hosking. “Government regulators are also reporting an increase in the volume and severity of psychological injury claims in government agencies.”

Also of importance for insurers in the SWA’s Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace report: the median work time lost from mental health conditions is four times greater than that of all physical injuries. Also, the compensation paid for these conditions, according to the report, is more than three times above that of all physical injuries and illnesses.

She said her firm is collaborating with several government agencies to explore solutions. Education, empowerment, early intervention and better engagement of health, well-being and recovery in the workplace, said Hosking, are some of the areas.

“We are particularly focused on supporting agencies in addressing the challenges posed by long-tail COVID impacts, increased work absence and workforce gaps,” she said.

Hosking said this mental health strategy has four main components:


“Firstly, we adopt a person-centred approach for workers, making the right decisions on claims and providing alternative supports when necessary,” she said.

Communication and education

“Secondly, we engage stakeholders to support employers in communication and maintain connection with the workplace through education, support to address barriers to return to work, facilitate a multidisciplinary approach with treating health providers, promote agency and resilience for workers,” said Hosking.


“Thirdly, we focus on fundamental excellence in case management through better recruitment, training, workload management, and proactive guidance and empowerment for workers and employers through their journey,” she said.

Clarity and empowerment

“Lastly, we ensure specialised teams align with specific requirements, utilise data and insights to predict risk and guide personalised assessments and interventions, and provide clear points of contact for workers and employers who are empowered and supported to make decisions,” said Hosking.

Hosking said GB is also working with regulators to address rising claims costs and improve return-to-work performance and outcomes.

Tailoring coverages and support programs

The GB expert said tailoring coverages and support programs to meet the unique challenges and needs of each government department “is crucial”.

To achieve this, she said, GB has analysed historical claims data, gathered insights from frontline staff and compared this against industry best practice.

“This gave us valuable insights into the key drivers that contribute to return-to-work performance,” said Hosking. “We are now refining these drivers to optimise our performance across our business.”

The wide range of areas that are currently benefitting from these refinements include, she said, claims handovers, case manager workloads and the implementation of return-to-work schedules.

“While technology plays a significant role, person-to-person contact and support will always be a critical part of our work,” said Hosking. “We are a people-driven organisation, complemented by technology, and our service delivery models nationally continue to evolve to ensure a tailored, holistic focus to support optimal service delivery.”

One major learning from more than a decade working with the government sector, she said, is the importance of this tailoring of operating models to meet specific needs.

“By increasing specialisation and accessing a broader community of practice, we can accelerate enhancements to programs and share learnings,” said Hosking. “We also emphasise the use of insights gained from long-term government partnerships to further evolve and tailor our operations, segmentation, service delivery and client engagement.”

How serious are mental health challenges in your workplace? What’s being done about them? Please tell us below

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!