Atlas Group

Commercial Courier - Catherine Calleja

“Making wellbeing a national conversation.” Catherine Calleja interviewed by the Commercial Courier

This article originally appeared in the Commercial Courier (Issue 98)

Atlas Insurance is a household name in Malta, insuring a variety of risks including vehicles, health, homes, businesses, pets and boats as well as providing specialist covers overseas through its successful PCC operation. The Group has gone from strength to strength over the decades. One line of business which has seen extraordinary growth is its health insurance line. Dayna Camilleri Clarke caught up with Catherine Calleja, Atlas Healthcare MD. In addition to her role at Atlas Healthcare, Calleja is also Executive Director and Company Secretary of Atlas Insurance PCC Limited.

“Awareness of the importance of good health and, in particular, of that of mental health is something we have seen grow phenomenally recently, especially in terms of the employers’ increased consciousness of the link between wellness and business success,” begins Calleja.

“For us, wellness isn’t just a buzzword. It’s something we practice. It’s an important component of our brand, both internally and externally. Of course, with a pandemic in the mix, it’s a topic high on everyone’s agenda.”

Calleja is certainly no stranger to the world of insurance. A Chartered Insurer, she is a Past President and Council Member of the Malta Insurance Association and a Council Member of The Malta Chamber. She is also a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Insurance and Risk Management at the University of Malta.

She says that Atlas Healthcare is a market leader in terms of healthcare insurance in Malta, especially group health business and works closely with HR and people leaders of various organisations. They focus on being innovative, and in fact have been pioneers in offering a standalone dental product. As a group, Atlas has also invested in life insurance, through its shareholding in IVALIFE Insurance Limited. Atlas Healthcare Insurance Agency, earlier this year, was licensed by the MFSA to act as agents for IVALIFE.

In the area of mental health, Atlas Healthcare has recently launched a global Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) for corporate customers. “Our successful ICAS EAP gives business leaders, employees and their families 24/7 access to experienced counsellors including local face to face counselling and legal and financial support.”

“We know an EAP programme can reduce absenteeism, staff turnover and healthcare costs. Ultimately it increases staff productivity and engagement. It helps employees and their family members cope with both personal and work issues, resulting in a more resilient workforce,” says Calleja.

Atlas sponsors the Malta Chamber Health and Wellness Committee, and Catherine chairs the same committee. How did this collaboration with the Malta Chamber come into force? Calleja explains: “Throughout the pandemic, we saw more and more of a need for an understanding of the link between employee engagement, wellness and business success. Supporting the Chamber in this way also strengthens the Chamber’s very important voice in the national conversation.”

The Committee is very active and includes members from diverse sectors and individuals with psychology and coaching backgrounds. Some of the themes addressed include workplace stress, coping mechanisms in the pandemic scenario, the importance of gender burden sharing and, more recently, recommendations for improvements in the provision of mental health services as well as health and safety obligations of business leaders.

“Employers used to focus mainly on health benefits when talking about employee wellbeing. Nowadays, we know that employee wellbeing is more than just the absence of illness. More progressive organisations are focusing on wellness because they appreciate that their most important resources are their people and increasing engagement and resilience makes sense.”

“Potential employees, especially Gen Z ones, are beginning to really appreciate innovative employee benefits. People want to know how they will be cared for and employee engagement surveys show that benefits do make a difference,” she adds.

For the third year running, Atlas has marked October as Mental Health Awareness month, holding free events including international webinars for staff and for clients and other stakeholders and raising awareness externally on social media. “Atlas devotes a great deal of time to the national conversation regarding health and wellbeing. It’s our intention for this subject to remain a mainstay of our community involvement initiative within our ESG programme,” concludes Calleja.

Atlas Healthcare Insurance Agency Limited (C32603) is authorised under the Insurance Distribution Act to act as Enrolled Insurance Agents for Atlas Insurance PCC Limited to carry on general insurance business and IVALIFE Insurance Limited (C94404) to carry out long term insurance business in Malta and is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority.