Conference Report: ABI urges occupational health tax break push

Rehabilitation First: Kicking Down the Barriers

Insurers must persuade the government to provide tax incentives to employers offering occupational health insurance for injuries occurring outside of the workplace, according to a senior insurance figure.

Justin Jacobs, head of liability and motor for the Association of British Insurers, insisted the government was beginning to realise the importance of rehabilitation to the UK economy.

As a former employee of HM Treasury, he added: "If we can present a solid case to the government then I believe it will be taken up."

Despite the "missed opportunity" of the Compensation Bill, Mr Jacobs told delegates that the ABI, in conjunction with other bodies, is setting out an employers' code of best practice that will be made available this summer.

He said that 28 million days a year are lost to illness while the cost to businesses is £13bn per year. "Anyone on incapacity benefit for more than two years is more likely to die than return to work," he said.

Mr Jacobs pointed out that despite the UK's enviable record at preventing people from getting injured, it has a poor history when it comes to treating people with injuries.

"Wayne Rooney's six-week recovery period is not typical of such injuries. We must learn from the likes of New Zealand, Sweden and Australia, where they have 80% plus return-to-work records."

He explained that the message was slowly getting through and cited the likes of Rolls Royce, which has made a one-off investment of £210,000, resulting in estimated savings of £11m.

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