Australia: MLC Life Insurance claims to be first to offer AI-guided mental health support

| 31 Aug 2023

MLC Life Insurance (MLC Life) has claimed to be the first Australian insurer to launch AI-guided mental health support.

MLC Life teamed up with Swiss Re Reinsurance Solutions to launch a pilot of Wysa Assure, an AI-based mental health support app that integrates Swiss Re's risk expertise and proprietary scoring system to meet the growing needs of customers. This makes MLC Life the first in the world to offer such an app.

The app aims to foster proactive mental wellbeing management and encourage early support-seeking and avoiding worsening symptoms while offering a broader approach to crisis risk mitigation.

One in three working-age Australians currently suffer from moderate to severe depression or anxiety, according to Wysa. Among individuals facing these mental health issues, 46% have not accessed support due to embarrassment, perceived cost, or the inability to self-diagnose need.

Wysa Assure is the improved version of Wysa, a global provider of AI-driven mental health support for individuals through employer benefits programmes and healthcare services. It includes wellbeing scores to quantify mental health status for improved monitoring.

The mental health support app features an AI chatbot, built on cognitive behavioural therapy principles, and is clinically proven to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. It prioritises user anonymity in compliance with data protection laws and encourages customers to feel comfortable to open up.

The app also seamlessly integrates self-care modules and MLC Life's broader Vivo support networks, with built-in crisis escalation pathways to human care that can be triggered during AI conversation with the user, or by the user selecting an SOS feature.

“We're always looking for innovative ways to improve the total customer experience, and that's why we're proud to be pioneers in this space and to further complement our award-winning Vivo program,” said Mr Andrew Beevors, Chief Claims Officer for MLC Life. “We're focused on delivering an industry-leading customer experience because we know how important our promise for life is to our customers, often at the most challenging times. Our ‘here for you’ philosophy means offering a personalised, caring, and supportive response.”

“Wysa Assure is more than a mental health tool; it is an AI companion designed to assist anyone navigating life's challenges, without them having to self-identify their needs or overcome stigma and come forward for help,” said Mr Ramakant Vempati, Co-Founder and President of Wysa.

“Our mission is to make mental wellness universally accessible for everyone, and this latest agreement with MLC Life Insurance brings us a step closer to achieving that goal,” he added, reported Insurance Business.