Bennington Training Services has a new scheme that can get income replacement claimants back to work weeks earlier, saving insurers thousands of pounds.

Essex-based Bennington was set up in 1987 by Hubert Hull, who has more than 20 years' experience in recruitment and corporate outplacement.

He worked with Bennington's outplacement director Bob Best to formulate the new Job Search Direct, which cuts the frills from conventional outplacement by working directly with the unemployed person to help them find a new job.

Hull said feedback from insurance companies indicated that loss of income policies were claimed on for an average of 19 weeks.

He said trials of Job Search Direct with companies such as Marconi, Britvic and Vinten showed the new scheme could get people back to work within 12 weeks.

“It was well-piloted because the ideas came from practising human resources directors with whom we work,” Hull said.

The 160-strong Job Search Direct team will help job seekers produce CVs, find vacancies, practice interview techniques and write letters and application forms.

In addition, telephone contact is maintained and a workbook kept throughout the job search.

“Having spent years in recruitment, the workbook we wrote really shows people what to do, their applications will get attention and they'll have the right answers,” Hull said.

“Underwriters can receive a report on the person's job hunting activities to assure themselves that their claim is being taken seriously and that policy conditions on job seeking efforts are being observed.

“Early experience suggests that people on a Job Search Direct scheme can be ready for a job in about two weeks.”

Job Search Direct will cost insurers between £500 and £700 for each unemployed person, which Hull said compared favourably with normal outplacement programmes, which cost up to five times as much.

“There are further economies to be had in long-term relationships with insurers, for example, as the nominated service in policy provisions.”