Why Zurich is committed to helping people with brain injuries

Family is running across a field

Why Zurich is committed to helping people with brain injuries

In Switzerland, more than 20,000 people suffer a brain injury every year. The path back to everyday life is often very fraught. FRAGILE Suisse assists people affected by such an injury and their families – and now does so with the support of Zurich Switzerland.

The neurologist wanted to perform another MRI of Isabel's brain. Just to be sure. But there weren't really any signs of something existential, she said, offering solace. The result of the magnetic resonance tomography, which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create tomograms of the body, astonished even the doctor a few days later. She spoke of a "spectacular" finding. 

Isabel (56) had a meningioma, a brain tumor. It was benign, but needed to be surgically removed. And as quickly as possible. Isabel told herself she would have no more complaints once the tumor was gone. Little did she know how much further she still had to go.

A brain injury can affect anyone

Anyone can suffer a brain injury – even young people. It often occurs unexpectedly. The most common causes are stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, traumatic injury and tumors. The damage left behind by such events frequently results in permanent impairment and limitations in everyday life. Victims may lose the ability to walk or speak properly, or may be paralyzed on one side. And disability may manifest in many other less noticeable ways. An affected person may also suffer financial losses as they are unable to work. However, disability insurance can protect them from suffering these financial consequences. 

Headaches, fatigue and memory loss

In Isabel's story, it all started with a headache. And leaden fatigue. She got herself checked out. Her blood count was normal. So everything seemed to be OK. Instead, she blamed herself. She chided herself for becoming a "lazy bones" in old age. But then came the memory gaps. And the change of personality. People close to her said that she became erratic at that time, wasn't interested in anything anymore and only focused on herself.

A slow healing process

And then came the diagnosis: A brain tumor. The operation lasted ten hours. There were no complications. But the healing process was protracted. This is not uncommon. Some people manage to get back to normal virtually without any problems. For others, returning to the world of work is a lengthy process that can also fail. The unseen disabilities, such as lack of concentration, rapid fatigue or memory gaps, can present major obstacles. Consequently, many people need support in everyday life in addition to medical help. 
Three months after the operation, Isabel had enough confidence to return to work. In the beginning she was more often to be found in the recreation room than at her desk. She was relieved to find that she could still do her work. In other areas, however, her brain continued to function poorly for a long time. In spring 2014, Isabel bought a technical device. The saleswoman explained to her how to use it. But Isabel could not remember anything, even after several explanations. 

Back to everyday life

In the meantime, Isabel has regained her footing. Things aren't quite the same. But she has learned to live with one brain in two states, as she puts it. One state sees Isabel being creative and productive – just like she used to be. In the other, she's completely exhausted after one and a half to two hours of work. However, thanks to FRAGILE Suisse, she has found her way back to everyday life. The organization supports those like Isabel with a wide range of counseling and support services in everyday life, helping them to help themselves. This support is also extended to the relatives.

Zurich wants to raise awareness for the issue

FRAGILE Suisse is specialized in helping people with brain injuries in everyday life. The assistance is not only provided to sufferers, their relatives also receive help. FRAGILE Suisse also provides special help for children whose mother or father has suffered a brain injury.

Zurich Switzerland supports this commitment: For every new life insurance policy taken out, Zurich makes a financial contribution to the patient organization. Zurich also wants to raise awareness for the issue, and where better to start, than with our own employees. As part of the cooperation with FRAGILE Suisse, we offer internal training seminars for our customer advisors, administrators and care managers on interacting with those who have suffered a brain injury. The goal is to ensure that Zurich customers continue to receive the professional advice and support they require even after suffering a brain injury.

Protection if work is no longer possible

A brain injury can affect anyone – and the consequences are often difficult to predict. In some cases, it leads to permanent disability. In which case, it is good to at least have a safeguard against any financial losses. If an accident causes incapacity to work, most people receive good coverage from the LAI and can expect to receive around 90 percent of their previous income. The situation is different if the incapacity for work is caused by illness. The rule of thumb here is: The IV and pension fund are often only expected to provide around 60 percent of previous income. Disability insurance reduces this gap and thus enables greater financial independence. 

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