Member Spotlight June 2022: The Insurance Charities

We spoke to The Insurance Charities, who are running their awareness week this month from 20th – 24th June to raise awareness of the support they offer throughout their industry.

Who we are

Established in the City of London in 1902 as The Insurance Clerks Orphanage, the Charity initially supported widows and orphans. The Insurance Benevolent Fund was established nearly 30 years later to widen the Charity’s reach. The two charities became The Insurance Charities in 2004. Even though there have been a few name changes and mergers over the years, our mission has stayed the same, to provide help and assistance to insurance, and insurance related employees and their families, throughout the UK and Ireland.

We are unique in the fact we are the only charity solely supporting current and former insurance employees working across the whole insurance sector.

We help insurance people (whatever their role) and their dependants throughout their career, and beyond, with whatever support is needed for as long as it’s required. Our financial help can be a one-off payment or ongoing, whether by way of outright or charitable loan payments. We can offer support for a wide variety of things such as new appliances, property adaptations or specialist medical equipment such as wheelchairs and hearing aids.

Practical support is offered through our partnerships with Alzheimer’s Society, Shelter, and mental health organisation, Aware, in Ireland.

Our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society has enabled us to offer fantastic volunteering opportunities to those working in the industry. The ‘Companion Calls’ initiative was set up by Alzheimer’s Society in response to the pandemic to support those who were isolated because of the restrictions. People now benefit from a friendly weekly call that helps to combat loneliness and provides a listening ear. We’re delighted that insurance professionals have signed up to support this initiative which will continue now the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

In June 2021 we funded an update to the Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers working in partnership with the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) to deliver this vital resource. The new edition has been welcomed by the government and features the latest statistics, guidance to support staff working at home, new case studies, and much more. Launched initially to the insurance industry, the Toolkit is for organisations of any size and sector.

Responding to the pandemic

As a small team we, like everyone, had to adapt quickly to the pandemic as it unfolded. With the guidance of our Board and Committees we were able to continue delivering our support as normal with very few modifications to our working practices, thanks to our team’s incredible commitment and flexibility. Visits to beneficiaries were moved to online Zoom meetings (as were our Board and Committee and staff update meetings) and our postal correspondence moved to email, wherever possible.

Our events programme, such as our annual Golf Day and visits to employers and local CII branches, was curtailed which meant we lost some of our key awareness raising opportunities and accompanying fundraising.

Looking ahead

We are delivering our Annual Awareness Week between 20 and 24 June by means of a webinar, our 2021/2022 impact report, a dementia awareness training day and free giveaways for insurance employers.

We’re pleased to be filling up our events calendar and getting out on the road again to meet with insurance professionals and tell them about our work.

This year we also plan to undertake a brand review, incorporating research into perceptions about the Charity and establishing if those working in insurance understand the breadth of our support. The outcome of this research will help inform any needed updates to our messaging, tone of voice and visual identity.

We will continue developing appropriate support packages for our beneficiaries based on current need. We are delighted to be starting to work alongside a careers coach who can support any insurance professionals who need a helping hand in securing a new position or gaining confidence in their current roles as well as adapting to retirement.

Like all benevolent charities, we are hugely concerned about the cost-of-living crisis. We have recently provided an uplift to current awards to help individuals cover these additional costs. We have also put out comms to remind former and potential beneficiaries we are here to support them through these challenging times.

Our main challenge remains seeking out those who are eligible for support and encouraging them to come forward for help. Our efforts will be concentrated in this arena for some time to come.