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  • Birger Oldorff

“Insurance is not enough” – The real cost of employee disability - must read for employee benefit

Updated: Dec 27, 2022


Employee disability, for reason of sickness or accident, has dramatic consequences to the affected person. An immediate is of course a potential financial loss of revenue.


Many countries, for instance in Europe, have legislation in place that forces employers to cover salary payments to employees in disability for some time, which can be longer or shorter depending on the country and length employment.

In Switzerland for example, that period can be as short as 3 weeks. Under certain circumstances it can however extend to 720 days.


To cope with the financial risk transfer from the employee to the employer's company, insurances have developed bespoke disability insurance schemes that align with local legislation. Often, they even offer attractive extensions to what the law requires.


So far so good – Employee protected, Employer duty fulfilled, and risk covered! Not so easy, unfortunately!


Up to 2010, the number one health reason for leaving work was problems with the Skeletal and musculoskeletal system.


Today, mental illnesses have taken the lead by far – ranging at 30 to 40%, depending on location. This number continues to grow!


Depressions, anxiety, neuroses, burn-outs are the diagnosis we see on sick-leave reports of today. Many of those find their sources at the workplace! Which too often proves to be not healthy at all. Stress is a leading cause for depressions, but uncertainties around the covid situation, home office adaptations and other challenges have not helped in the recent past.

While the Corona crisis looks like to become part of our new reality, the occupational world remains uncertain for many.


There is good news!


While the real cost of disability is not limited to “insurance claims” for workers compensation, it sums up with reduced productivity because of labor shortage.


In today’s world of talent shortage (identified as top 3 risk to businesses by a Gartner survey already in 2019), attracting people and retaining them is of key importance to corporations.


According to various studies some 20% of the population will face a disability for a period up to 6 months

during their life, most will have to deal with a mental health issue.


In addition, employers with unhealthy work environments may struggle more than others in finding and binding the new talents.


“Insurance is not enough”!


Luckily, many disabilities have their source at the workplace. This is the location where CEO’s, HR & benefit managers can easily gain back control of the situation, by creating healthy work environments and help employees with managing their health.


Innovation through digital health


The digital world enables establishment of prevention programs, that can be brought in an easy way to employees in need – long before they become seriously ill.

Stress management, employee assistance, nutritional education and programs encouraging fitness are available and can be customized to organizations need.


In a same way digitalised and customized “Return To Work Programs”, backed with best practices data and medical knowledge from all over the world, ensure people return quickly and stay safe!


If you want to know more about provider and solutions available, please reach out to your Oldorff Consulting Team.

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