What are Early Intervention Services (EIS)?
Early intervention allows insurers to provide support for absent employees before a claim needs to be submitted. Early Intervention Services (EIS) have come a long way in the last 15 years or so. When they first became available, many suggested getting in contact around halfway through the policy deferred period (the length of time an employee needs to be absent before a claim could be submitted). For many policies, this was around 13 to 14 weeks. Over time that fell to four weeks and, in the last couple of years, some providers have begun recommending making use of their EIS proposition as soon as a non-trivial absence starts (so no colds, hangovers or twisted ankles).
How much does it cost?
EIS is typically provided as part of Group Income Protection insurance and making use of it may well reduce your policy premium. EIS encourages a proactive approach to managing employee sickness absence, which is in the interests of your insurer and your employees, as well as your own.
There is an ever-expanding body of evidence showing work is good for physical and mental health, so it is to people’s benefit to receive specialist attention as soon as possible following an illness or injury. The key is to keep their wellbeing at the forefront of any conversations and plans – EIS is not a stick to beat workers with, but an extra layer of support in a time of need and a way to maintain dialogue.
From your perspective, shorter absences mean less time and money lost in productivity gaps, and improved employee engagement and loyalty. For insurers, being able to work closely with you and your employees can help them identify absence trends, provide targeted help and triage potential claims to enhance the submission process. Put all of this together and your insurer will have a much clearer picture of the risk they are taking on, which means making fewer assumptions (and insurers tend to assume the worst) and in turn may lead to being able to trim down your price.
How effective is EIS?
Not all Early Intervention Services are equal, but figures from Canada Life are very positive. EIS is particularly suitable for complex and/or subjective absences such as back pain or mental ill health, though clinical conditions like cancer or heart attacks can also benefit from specialist attention.
80% of people referred to Canada Life’s EIS returned to work before the end of their deferred period, meaning no claim needed to be made. This generally has a positive impact on claims experience, which is a key part of Group Income Protection policy pricing. On average, absentees who were referred to EIS were only off work for seven weeks, and if engagement is particularly early (between one and four weeks), the typical absence was only four weeks long. The sick pay savings and reduction in lost productivity is a huge benefit to employers. Getting people safely back into a working environment is also great for employees as it minimises the anxiety of returning after a long time.
Engagement between employer and employee also shows strong returns. Sharing information improves communication, which is a vital keystone in the journey to a safe, sustainable return to work. 95% of people referred to EIS consent to having information shared with their employer, bringing everyone along the journey together in a spirit of collaboration and support, strengthening the bond between employer and employee in the process.
This article has been written in collaboration with Canada Life, one of Elect’s insurance providers. It is for information only and is not specific advice. It is based on our current understanding of the attributed research which may change in the future.