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September 2010

Turning lives around – A look at NFU Mutual’s rehabilitation programme

The last thing someone who has been involved in a serious accident needs to worry about is how long the claims process will take to settle before they can get back on the road to recovery.

However, the UK’s traditional ‘adversarial’ approach to serious injury claims, which involved little or no co-operation between the claimant and defendant, often proved frustrating for both parties.

The system meant solicitors and insurers were working against each other, with solicitors often trying to increase the value of the claim and insurers often seeking to minimise compensation.

As a result, the adversarial approach was creating a barrier to rehabilitation for the claimant.

Research in the United States had shown where both parties for an action for damages were prepared to cooperate there was often a real chance of rehabilitating the injured party, with the intervention of occupational therapy, to achieve a partial or full return to work.

Recognising the system of claims compensation needed to change, insurance, pensions and investment specialists NFU Mutual decided to pioneer its own rehabilitation programme to help seriously injured claimants.

More than 10 years on NFU Mutual is one of the market leaders in the rehabilitation industry, having helped hundreds of people to resume work, regain mobility or maximise their independence.

The Mutual way

The NFU Mutual Claims Rehabilitation Programme is designed to give people the support they need to cope with the aftermath of an accident, so they can make a swift recovery and where possible, return to work quickly and safely.

NFU Mutual provides this service through a nationwide network of independent occupational therapists (OTs). They are instrumental in delivering the programme alongside the Internal Rehabilitation team.

Ongoing support

NFU Mutual’s Rehabilitation Programme provides claimants with more than just a one off appointment with an OT. The OT is hand-picked from a panel according to the case, so each injured person benefits from their specialist knowledge.

The OT will visit the claimant in their home and at their workplace, if appropriate and will help them during their recovery period until they are ready to return to work or once their independence has been maximised.

NFU Mutual has OT specialists in orthopaedic injuries, paralysis, brain injuries and paediatric cases. The OT will also liaise with other people involved in the claimant’s recovery and will get involved in practical measures to help their return to work.

The OT panel has expertise in arranging specialist treatments, identifying adaptations and equipment, organising suitable accommodation, and returning people to independence – essential for helping claimants recovering from traumatic accidents.

Rehabilitation advantages

Without some form of rehabilitation claimants might not return to work at all, particularly when they have suffered a serious injury.

Rehabilitation may enable claimants to return to their original work or enable them to train for work of a different kind. In the case of a serious injury, rehabilitation will help the claimant to maximise their independence.

Treatment provided as part of rehabilitation such as physiotherapy, therapeutic aids and special equipment and modifications can have an enormous effect on the impact of an injury and improve claimants’ quality of life.

As well as the immeasurable human benefits of rehabilitation, there are considerable business advantages too.

Rehabilitation can speed up the recovery process, reducing the cost of claims and helping policyholders to keep their businesses profitable by enabling key employees to return to work quickly and safely – a system mutually beneficial for all!

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