Global life and health insurers are paying up to US$15bn a year in mental health-related disability insurance claims.
A study by the Geneva Association, an international association of insurance companies, estimates that mental illness affects around one billion people across the globe. It described the cost of the mental health crisis as “staggering” and warned that it is likely to grow.
The “destabilising factors” behind poor mental health include the Covid pandemic, anxiety over the effects of climate change and the cost-of-living crisis. This is leading to lost wages, employment gaps and higher mortality risk, the association warned.
Although insurers offer mental health coverage through in-service and prevention innovations such as telemedicine and mental health tracking apps, they warn that the policy environment is preventing them from doing more.
“Insurers are committed to playing an even bigger role,” said the Geneva Association’s managing director, Jad Ariss. “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.”