Aviva and Bupa have both formed independent partnerships with UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support.
Aviva said its partnership aims to help its protection customers living with cancer get access to the emotional, clinical and financial support they need.
The charity estimates there are tens of thousands of people ‘missing’ a cancer diagnosis in the UK due to disruption caused by the pandemic and ongoing pressure on NHS services.
Bupa Health Clinics, meanwhile, has partnered with the charity to provide counselling to people with cancer who are struggling to cope emotionally.
Macmillan warns that it could “at best” take the NHS well into 2022 to identify those individuals whose cancer has not yet been diagnosed because of the disruption caused by Covid-19.
As a result, Aviva – and other insurers – expects to see protection claims presenting with more advanced cancers throughout 2021 and into 2022.
Under the new agreement, Aviva and Macmillan Cancer Support will be working on a range of new initiatives throughout the year to help support all of Aviva’s protection customers with cancer diagnoses.
The following initiatives are planned with Macmillan over the coming year to help the charity continue to provide vital emotional, clinical and financial support to people living with cancer:
- Aviva and Macmillan will work together to train more than 200 frontline Aviva protection claims employees to provide support to protection customers living with cancer, or who live with someone who has cancer
- “Learning events” will be hosted by Aviva and Macmillan for financial advisers and corporate employer clients, to provide them with guidance on giving emotional support to customers who have been diagnosed with cancer and guidance on signposting them to available services through Macmillan
- The signposting of customers, financial advisers and corporate clients to Macmillan support will be “integrated throughout Aviva’s individual and group protection claims literature and claims journeys”
- Aviva and Macmillan are also working on integrating signposting to Macmillan services in Aviva’s recently launched DigiCare+ and DigiCare+ Workplace health and wellbeing apps
The partnership between Bupa Health Clinics and Macmillan, meanwhile, offers people with “high levels of emotional need” as a result of their cancer experience free one-on-one counselling from a qualified Bupa counsellor.
A spokesperson for Bupa said that after a successful pilot from August 2020 to January 2021 which saw 139 patients use the service, more than three-quarters (76%) of users reported a reduction in feelings of depressions and 72% a reduction in anxiety.
Ed Wallace, head of innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “For many people, it is more frightening and isolating to get a cancer diagnosis or to go through treatment today than at any other time in recent history. We are getting an increasing number of calls from people struggling with isolation and experiencing very high anxiety levels, without their usual support of family and friends around them. This partnership will help us provide further support to people living with cancer, who are struggling to cope emotionally and need us more than ever.”
Alaana Woods (pictured), commercial director at Bupa Health Clinics, said: “No one should go through cancer alone – but the pandemic has meant that family and friends can’t always be by people’s side.
“That’s why our mental health nurses are just a phone call way, 24 hours a day. Now more than ever we know it’s a vital service and continue to see much needed positive outcomes.”