AIA’s CEO weighs in on menopause initiative

Calls Budget initiatives "a promising start"

AIA’s CEO weighs in on menopause initiative


By Daniel Wood

This week has seen stakeholders reacting to different parts of the government’s Federal Budget. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) welcomed additional funding for the National Emergency Management Agency. The Actuaries Institute was pleased by cost-of-living supports but called for more investment in climate adaptation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Life insurer, AIA Australia, meanwhile, focused on the Budget’s boosts for women’s health.

Managing Menopause

“The federal government’s budget allocation of $1.2 million across two years to support placements for health practitioners to undertake the Managing Menopause course is a promising start,” said CEO Damien Mu (pictured above).

“It represents investment into the stage of a woman’s life that affects more than half of the Australian population,” said Mu.

AIA: First life insurer to offer a menopause program

The CEO said his firm is the first life insurer to offer a menopause program to provide additional rehabilitation support to women on claims between the ages of 40 and 55. The program was launched in March.

According to an AIA media release, eligible claimants will be offered four sessions of health coaching. This will include, said the release, education about perimenopause and menopause and related health issues that can arise longer term, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia.

“Our claims data shows that women in that age group have a significantly higher propensity than men to suffer from musculoskeletal conditions or mood disorders such as anxiety or depression,” said Mu. “We know that M=menopause can have profound impacts not only on the individual, but also on the ecosystem and network surrounding those Australian women experiencing such a prominent life journey.”

$1.4 billion for women’s health

He also drew attention to other Budget measure that aims to improve women’s health.

“The additional investment of $1.4 billion across the next 10 years to cover issues such as menopause, pregnancy loss and fertility is another positive outcome,” said Mu.

The CEO said tackling women’s midlife health issues has the potential to result in substantial savings for the industry and improved outcomes for the health system.

“ABS data shows women, on average, leave the workforce seven years earlier than men, impacting not only the workforce in terms of lost experience but also affecting women’s mental health, earnings and superannuation,” he said.

Mu said women are in the prime of their career when going through menopause.

“GPs often have limited training in menopause and women regularly are not accessing the right treatment,” he said. “Women also exit the workforce early with their average age of retirement being 52.”

Mu also referred to a current Senate inquiry into issues related to menopause and perimenopause.

“[This] will also hopefully mean that improved federal investment will be on the horizon,” he said.

“Every woman is affected by menopause in some way”

According to the Australian Menopause Society (AMS) “every woman is affected by menopause in some way” through symptoms or physical changes. The Society’s website says the average age of menopause is 51 and that most women have symptoms for five to 10 years.

“Collaborating with employees and including menopausal health in policies can improve an inclusive organisational culture and avoid discrimination against employees with menopausal symptoms,” said the AMS.

“Equality for women in every part of our economy and society is central to our Government’s plans for the future – because it is essential for Australia’s success in the future,” said the statement.

The statement also drew attention to violence against women.

“Women shouldn't feel they have to stay in a violent relationship because there's nowhere to go,” said the statement. “That’s why this Budget includes funding for a new five-year, $9.3 billion National Agreement on Social Housing and Homelessness with states and territories.”

The statement said this represents a doubling of the government’s “dedicated funding allocation for homelessness services to $400 million a year.”

As an insurance professional, what stood out to you in the Federal Budget? Please tell us below

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