A report published this week by the Geneva Association has outlined how insurers are boosting their efforts in addressing mental health issues.
Incidents of mental illness soared during the pandemic as a result of social restrictions, isolation and, in some cases, financial insecurity. Poor mental health can lead to loss of wages, gaps in employment and increased risk of mortality.
The cost-of-living crisis and other destabilising factors are set to exacerbate mental health risk and its impact on societies and economies, according to the report, which has identified a significant potential for life and health insurers to expand risk protection to meet society’s needs. It goes on to illustrate the magnitude of mental health problems; examines how life and health insurance are currently addressing mental health; and recommends how they can build on and scale innovations to improve the insurability of people living with poor mental health.
Jad Ariss, managing director of The Geneva Association, said: “Insurers responded expediently to the surge in mental illness catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We see this not only in the increasing number of insurers offering mental health coverage but in service and prevention innovations such as telemedicine and mental-health tracking apps. Insurers are committed to playing an even bigger role. However, factors like social stigma, non-disclosure of illness and the policy environment make it difficult for them to have a full view on mental health risk and take the necessary action.”
Adrita Bhattacharya-Craven, director of health and ageing at The Geneva Association and lead author of the report, said: “The prevalence of mental illness is staggering, and the true number of cases is likely much higher than we estimate. It is disheartening that young, working-age and ethnic minority populations are experiencing mental health problems at higher rates.
“Surprisingly, anxiety and depression – not more complex mental health conditions such as bipolar or psychotic disorders – are the most common types of mental health problems. Our report lays out the facts for insurers so they are equipped to better align their mental health strategies with realities. There is a big opportunity for the insurance industry to have more impact by leveraging what they already offer.”