How do your clients’ employees return to work successfully after a disability?

03 November 2020 Elna van Wyk, Head of Group Disability and Underwriting at Momentum Corporate

We should not underestimate the physical, mental and financial health challenges of overcoming a disability and successfully returning to work, says Elna Van Wyk, National Head of Disability Management and Technical Underwriting at Momentum Corporate.

While a speedy and successful return to work after disability minimises workplace disruption and is good for productivity, returning employees often need a professional helping hand to facilitate their successful reintegration.

Unfortunately overflowing job jars mean that your clients and their HR staff don’t always have the time and resources to facilitate a smooth, seamless return to the workplace for those returning from disability. This is more evident in the current environment, where the focus is on core business plans to survive the COVID-19 economic fallout.

Van Wyk points out that group disability solutions have evolved into far more than simply a financial pay out for a valid claim. Find out what services your client’s disability insurance provider offers to help insured employees return from a disability and successfully integrate back into the workplace.

“A good example of holistic disability management to address the range of challenges associated with disability and returning to work is Momentum Corporate’s wellness care centre.”

Van Wyk explains that Momentum Corporate’s holistic approach to disability insurance includes an in-house wellness care centre to help clients’ employees on disability with rehabilitation and recovery. This facilitates quick, safe and effective integration into the workplace, reducing both the direct and indirect costs associated with disability.

The stigma associated with mental health disorders makes it particularly important to make sure individuals recovering from a mental health related disability feel supported when returning to work. Momentum Corporate reports that on average 9% of all disability claims are as a result of mental health claims. This is a lot higher for younger employees with 26% of disability claims for younger employees less than 35 related to mental health. Van Wyk says they expect claims related to mental health to increase in the future due to the impact of the pandemic and lockdown.

According to the World Health Organisation, workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.

Van Wyk also believes that there will be an increase in the number of employers unable to accommodate disability claimants returning to the workplace. Van Wyk says, “This is another area where our wellness centre will try to help. Where the employee is unable to return to the workplace, we may assist with reskilling and the search for a new position, thereby reducing risk to the employer.”

Van Wyk concludes, “Helping an employee who has suffered a disability return to productive work generates multiple wins. The employer benefits from a speedy return to productive work and minimal disruption. The employee wins by returning to work which, if under the right conditions, strengthens the rehabilitation process. And the insurer and industry benefits from claims of shorter duration, which ultimately reduces the price of disability insurance.”

For practical tips on how your clients’ can assist their employees returning from disability, visit

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