Vocational Rehabilitation – THE BENEFITS


My apologies for shouting out loud in the subject title to this article, but having just seen an extremely interesting piece by Emily Perryman on healthinsurancedaily.com about Unum’s experience when people use their vocational rehabilitation service, I thought it needed repeating even if it does mean raising my voice.

Emily’s article outlined Unum’s findings that 7 out of 10 people with serious health problems returned to work after they used their vocational rehabilitation service.  The sting in the tail of this informative article is actually in the opening sentence as Unum’s rehabilitation service is only provided as part of their group income protection plan.  If we take a look at Ron Wheatcroft’s 2016 Swiss Re Group Watch report (see Fiona Murphy’s article in Cover Magazine – Where will Group Business come from?), Ron is quoted as saying that sales of group income protection (GIP) are disappointing and also that “Overall there is also a big self-insured market which is the whole size of individual and in force schemes combined. The GIP results were the most disappointing: as an industry, that’s where we should be looking first [in terms of a priority benefit.]”  What this means in reality is that whilst Unum’s statistics are impressive with GIP sales and take-up remaining disappointing, the benefits of vocational rehabilitation when supplied by an insurer are simply not available to the majority of employees with serious health problems.  Of course some lucky employees may work for an employer that is ‘switched on’ to the benefits to both the employer and employee of using a specialist rehabilitation service as part of their return to work scheme.  That’s exactly what HCB provides not only to employers, but to insurers, intermediaries and pension scheme trustees.  Let’s take a look at some of the truly impressive figures highlighted in Emily’s article and see where using a focused and motivated support service such as the independent one provided by HCB or an in-house service provided by an insurer for its policyholders can produce some remarkable results


  • Seven out of 10 people with serious health problems returned to work after using Unum’s vocational rehabilitation service provided as part of a group income protection (GIP) plan.
  • Mental health (41%), musculoskeletal problems (19%) and cancer (9%) were the most common health conditions faced by those successfully returning to work.
  • Conditions related to the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis, and to the heart and circulation made up the remaining big five health problems, with both accounting for 6% of people returning to work.
  • Over a third (35%) of those returning to work were under 40 years old and 15% were under 30. Just over a third (34%) were over 50.
  • Only 40% of those with GIP from Unum are female, but women make up half of those returning to work.
  • One quarter of people experience mental health problems at some point in their life – causing over 70 million working days to be lost every year.
  • Each year 280,000 people are diagnosed with cancer and more than half will live for 10 years or more.
  • By 2030, the number of working age people who have been diagnosed with cancer will have more than doubled to 1.7 million.


As John Letizia  head of public affairs at Unum, said: “This statement proves that income protection is about much more than just protecting people’s finances. Mental health and musculoskeletal problems are the biggest causes of disability and sickness absence in the UK.”

By supporting people as soon as they fall ill, rather than waiting to see if they recover, we can make a huge difference to their chances of getting back to work whether they have a GIP or not.


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HCB is an independent employee health, wellness & claims management service provider to employers, intermediaries, insurers and pension scheme trustees.



Article sources:

Where will new group risk business come from? – http://www.covermagazine.co.uk/cover/feature/2453922/wheatcroft-where-will-group-risk-new-business-come-from

Unum: Seven in 10 return to work with rehab service –  https://www.healthinsurancedaily.com/health-insurance/product-area/group-risk/article480185.ece?utm_medium=email&utm_term=&utm_source=GB179%20Health%20Insurance_Daily%20News%20Alert&utm_content=&utm_campaign=Copy%20of%20CBA%20XML%20Edition

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