The insurer believes its new claims solution can reduce rehabilitation time for amputees by about eight months 

Zurich has pioneered a new claims solution, designed to speed up access to advanced prosthetics in a bid to reduce rehabilitation time for people with life-changing personal injury claims.

The “market first” product pays for treatment upfront, giving patients the chance to visit a prosthetics specialist without a long wait time. Therefore, third-party claimants can benefit from a full treatment package, including state-of-the-art prosthetics and ongoing rehabilitation, ahead of the financial settlement.

Zurich predicts that this immediate treatment option will reduce rehabilitation time for seriously injured people by around eight months.

Amy Brettell, Zurich’s head of customer, UK claims, said: “Our solution brings the focus back on the patient, paying for the treatment they need upfront. This means people get the right prosthetic limb when they want it, not when the legal system is ready.”

She explained that Zurich’s solution focuses on making prosthetic services and rehabilitation available as early as possible. Claimants are then able to focus on their recovery without the stress of delays in funding, or experiencing months or years of relying on prosthetics with less functionality. This reduces the duration of rehabilitation and helps the injured person to recover and regain their independence sooner.

Lengthy waiting

Lengthy civil litigation for personal injury claims can have amputees waiting as long as two years for a financial settlement or treatment.

This means that amputees are not able to benefit from more advanced prosthetics or new generation microprocessor limbs; these can cost about £80,000. Relying on less advanced prosthetics can delay a patient’s recovery time and lead to physical and mental health problems, such as muscle wastage, weight gain and depression.

Brettell added: “Losing a limb is an extremely traumatic experience. While solicitors deal with the legal formalities of a claim, the physical and emotional needs of people who have suffered life-changing injuries can be neglected.”

Funding upfront

The insurer has set up agreements with four prosthetics centres; these give an initial needs assessment to the claimants’ solicitors and insurer in an allocated timeframe.

“Without upfront funding, individuals are unable to access specialist prosthetics and rehabilitation support is more restricted. Prosthetics can also become poorly fitting as the injured limb changes, leading claimants to develop a different gait to compensate,” Brettell explained.

This means that when a specialist prosthetics provider eventually becomes involved, they will be faced with a series of “bad habits” to undo, added Brettell, so an effective trial of a new superior prosthetic will be delayed until the individual can best make use of it.

Delayed effective rehabilitation can lead to a loss of employment and reduced confidence.