Our much-overworked NHS does not have the resources available to offer mass support for the bereaved, but insurers are in a prime position to step up and provide this instead, says RedArc during Dying Matters Week (14 – 20 May 2018).
In difficult times, many families may be in touch with their insurers anyway – not just in connection with life insurance but also for motor, home, travel, critical illness or another type of cover – but even if they haven’t been in contact, insurers looking to go beyond financial support and provide added value, could consider offering long-term bereavement support.
Christine Husbands, managing director, RedArc says: “Bereavement support is a good fit with almost any insurance and the benefits to both the insurer and insured are obvious. The insurer cements a relationship with the policyholder or their family by providing independent third-party support which is not easily accessible elsewhere, and is able to build an inherent loyalty and goodwill from their customer.”
In the most comprehensive of offerings, the policyholder and their family do not even need to make a claim but can access support directly, whenever they need it, no matter who they are grieving for.
Long-term support is crucial
RedArc also points out that it can be of great value to have regular contact from a trusted professional in the early stages of bereavement, to help with immediate worries and concerns and be well placed to put formal therapy in place when the time is right. Bereavement counselling is not normally beneficial at all until 3-6 months after the death, as the family tend to be too raw for any course of treatment to help: grief is a very long-term process, and support from family and friends often falls away within a few weeks or months of the funeral, leaving people feeling isolated and abandoned. They often display mental health symptoms such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and poor sleep.
It is also often the case that one particular family member believes they need to ‘stay strong’ or ‘put on a brave face’ for their partner or their children, and therefore they don’t have the opportunity to grieve properly themselves. In these situations, support is often required much further down the line.
Types of support required
RedArc’s experience shows that the variety of support required is much more than ‘talking’ therapies. By accessing support from a third party, insurers can offer their policyholders and their families practical advice on a wide range of issues such as long-term care, sourcing respite care for a break, some help at home or mobility aids or home adaptations as well as sourcing other therapies such as massage or hypnotherapy (to help with relaxation and sleep) .
Christine Husbands, continues: “There is no set way to grieve and also no set way to recover – to work best, bereavement support needs to be tailored to the individual and their specific circumstances.
“Of course a cheque gives immediate relief and short-term financial comfort for a grieving family but insurers looking to attract and retain customers and build loyalty and differentiation, could consider adding bereavement support to ensure their policyholder’s emotional and practical needs are also met in the event of a loss.”