What role can insurance play in vital cancer battle?

What role can insurance play in vital cancer battle? | Insurance Business New Zealand

What role can insurance play in vital cancer battle?

Look Good Feel Better New Zealand (LGFB) believes the insurance industry can serve as an important conduit between the charity’s free cancer support programme and the patients and their families who stand to benefit from it. The organisation, which supports the Women in Insurance (WII) Summit taking place in February, is hoping to touch base with the right people who can help spread the word.

“[We are supporting the event] to connect with so many individuals who are guiding people through perhaps their trauma claim or their cancer claims,” said LGFB general manager Clare O’Higgins when she sat down with Insurance Business. “These people are at the frontline. And often this is the second call that is made after perhaps advising your family or your employer that you have a cancer diagnosis.

“What we’ve recognised is – as insurance people, caseworkers, etc., they have the unique ability to be able to offer this free service and know when the person might need it. And I think it’s one of those things that when you are guiding people through such a tough time, to be able to say ‘here is a free service’, ‘here is something for you’ or something for the family – because it might be that it’s a family member who has contacted the insurance person to talk on behalf of their loved one – it’s just really important.”

The coffee sponsor at this month’s WII Summit in Auckland, LGFB offers free classes on makeup, wigs, scarf tying, body image, nail care, and the like to cancer patients, providing beauty techniques and practical tools to help them feel a sense of normalcy by managing treatment side effects that relate to appearance.

This year, the charity is broadening its offering by adding classes aimed at patients’ family members who are tasked with the caring responsibilities. For LGFB, it’s important that people see this as part of the non-medical appointments – a time for patients and their kin to be in a setting other than a treatment centre or a doctor’s office.

“Aside from our core – which might be the online brow class, wigs advice, hair advice, or the community (face-to-face) skincare – we’ve also extended now to have weekly chair yoga classes online, we have mindful classes, and we’ve got breathwork happening,” said O’Higgins.

Role of insurance industry

To help raise awareness, O’Higgins is looking to the insurance industry for reinforcements.

“It’s actually about that holistic set of tools that the people in insurance can actively, practically offer their clients,” she told Insurance Business. “It means that it’s not just a medical professional who has to refer; anyone can refer someone to Look Good Feel Better. And the summit is a way in which we’re able to give the insurance people the tools to be able to connect.

“The insurance brokers and agents are a really important part of medical care, whether it’s cancer coverage, whether it’s trauma cover, whether it’s income protection insurance, whether it’s all of those things – there are reasons why people take them and there are reasons why people might need to uplift them. And this is a way in which we can offer a free service through that trusted professional.”

O’Higgins went on to clarify that an insurance executive or company need not be officially tied up with LGFB to offer the free classes to policyholders.

The general manager asserted: “They can come to us and learn more, they can receive brochures, they can receive bookmarks, they can receive any collateral that they think they may need, but they don’t have to be an official partner. The important thing for us is to increase awareness and accessibility of our services.

“The most important thing for us is that somebody knows today that they can access a free service tomorrow. And that’s really important for us that all of the services should remain free for those going through cancer. It’s important that a claims officer, an account manager, an actuary in the insurance company, whoever, knows that if they know someone in their family, a work colleague, or a person that has taken an insurance claim, they can be that conduit and say, ‘Here’.”

Backed by event sponsor Deloitte, gold sponsors Marsh and Delta Insurance Group, and coffee sponsor Look Good Feel Better, the WII Summit is taking place on February 28, 2023, at Hilton Auckland. Register now.