Life and health insurance industry takes leadership role in promoting mental health in the workplace: CLHIA

TORONTO, Oct. 27 2009 – Canada’s life and health insurance industry has taken a leadership role by committing to a strategy to address the issue of mental health in the workplace.

“The life and health insurance industry has clearly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the mental health of Canadian workers,” said Frank Swedlove, President of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association. “One of our primary goals is to raise the profile of mental health issues and bring increasing awareness of its importance to the work environment as well as to all Canadians,” he added.

Canadian life and health insurers have committed to adopting a mental health strategy that incorporates principles that establish the benchmarks for best practices in the industry. These five principles embrace: working to improve knowledge and awareness of the impact of mental health in the workplace; encouraging development and promotion of best practices and programs; supporting practices that facilitate prevention, early detection and intervention; promoting fair and effective disability management practices; and focusing on products and services that address the needs and issues related to mental health. The principles and some illustrations of practices are set out in the attached document.

The life and health insurance industry’s mental health guiding principles are designed to provide a set of standards and best practices that contribute to health and productivity. It also encourages continuous improvements over time and lays the foundation for the industry to play an active role as part of the solution.

As the principal provider in Canada of individual and group benefits products and services, the industry plays a significant role in wellness, disease prevention and in supporting recovery. Canadian life and health insurers paid out $5.4 billion in disability benefits under group contracts in 2008. As well, the industry is itself a major employer, with more than 131,900 Canadians working in the industry.

The Canadian life and health insurance industry provides a wide range of financial security products, including life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance, to about 26 million Canadians and their dependants. Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business.

About CLHIA

Established in 1894, the CLHIA is a voluntary association whose member companies account for 99 per cent of Canada’s life and health insurance business. The industry provides a wide range of financial security products such as life insurance, annuities (including RRSPs, RRIFs and pensions) and supplementary health insurance to about 26 million Canadians. www.clhia.ca