Standard Life emphasizes the importance of organizational health

MONTREAL, Oct 7 2010 – As part of Mental Illness Awareness Week, The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada would like to highlight the fact that organizational health is no longer an option but rather a responsibility and a competitive advantage Canadian companies cannot ignore.

For over 10 years, Standard Life has been an innovator in the Canadian group insurance market, particularly in the disability management segment. Partnering with many companies, it offers innovative solutions in managing mental health-related disability risks.

“We consider health and disability management to be a cycle throughout which we can provide assistance and support. Our approach involves not only helping to prevent health problems, but also working in partnership with Canadian employers to effectively manage their employees’ disabilities and ensure a smooth, timely and safe return to work,” says Christine Potvin, Vice-President, Disability and Risk Management, Health and Wellness, Group Insurance.

According to Health Canada, mental illnesses account for nearly one third of disability claims and their estimated related costs are between $15 and $33 billion per year. The Public Health Agency of Canada also mentions that the economic burden depression and distress place on Canada stands at $14.4 billion, including at least $8.1 billion in loss of productivity for companies.

Stress, anxiety and depression represent a worrisome reality for most Canadian employers. “The resulting effects on performance, absenteeism and the number of departures of competent employees are often too high a price to pay for a lack of action with regard to organizational health,” adds Mrs. Potvin.

Companies are constantly on the lookout for better ways of retaining their most capable employees. They also face the challenge of keeping them healthy. The most proactive companies focus on implementing a healthy working environment. As a result, these companies adopt programs to help prevent, address or improve mental health issues, including the provision of the best treatments available, so as to improve their employees’ personal and professional lives and boost their productivity.

About Standard Life

Established in 1825, Standard Life is a leading provider of long-term savings and investment solutions to over 6 million customers worldwide. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, Standard Life has around 10,000 employees across the UK, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Austria, India, USA, Hong Kong and mainland China. It had C$284.6 billion in assets under administration, as of June 30, 2010.

In 2006, after 80 years as a mutual company, The Standard Life Assurance Company demutualized and Standard Life plc was listed on the London Stock Exchange. Standard Life plc now has approximately 1.5 million shareholders in over 50 countries, including 13,000 in Canada.

In Canada, Standard Life has been doing business for over 175 years. Standard Life Financial Inc., which wholly owns The Standard Life Assurance Company of Canada and Standard Life Mutual Funds Ltd., is Standard Life plc’s largest operation outside the UK. With over 2,000 employees based in Montreal and in offices across Canada, it provides long-term savings, investment and insurance solutions to more than 1.3 million Canadians, including group insurance and retirement plan members. It had C$36.3 billion of assets under administration, as at June 30, 2010.