Sector-specific support for insurers
13th September 2022Tweet
The Insurance Charities is the only charity dedicated to supporting colleagues and their families who are working or have worked in the industry.
As the cost-of-living crisis intensifies, its value to the sector has never been more important.
Here, we talk to Adrienne O’Sullivan, Honorary President, The Insurance Charities & CEO, ARAG Legal Protection, to find out more about the services it provides.
Can you briefly explain the support you provide to the insurance sector?
We’re the only charity dedicated to supporting current and former insurance employees facing hardship.
Established over 120 years ago, we can help with one-off payments for things such as household repairs, furniture, and appliances. We can also provide ongoing financial help and give practical support to those with health, money, and housing concerns.
Whether the help required is large or small, what is important is that it can make a positive difference to someone’s life and we’re here to support those in the insurance industry throughout their careers and beyond for as long as needed.
Can you tell us who your support is available to?
We are an independent charity and applicants do not need to be members of any insurance-related body or association. Employment can have been in any role in the industry and is not restricted to specific insurance careers.
Support is available to anyone who:
- is a current or former insurance employee with five years’ recent service
- is at the start of their career but has predominately worked in insurance
- receives a pension or deferred pension following five years’ employment in the sector
- is a dependant of a current or former insurance employee.
In all cases, service must be or have been within the UK or Irish insurance industry and there must be restricted financial means in terms of income and capital, and an element of misfortune (such as redundancy, ill-health, or domestic abuse).
Can you provide a few examples of how you have helped people within the industry?
Some of our beneficiaries have shared their own experiences, which may strike a chord with others in similar situations.
Can you talk more about the practical support you mentioned?
We can deliver further support via some fantastic partnerships we have with other charities to help address those issues impacting insurance people.
Firstly, our partnership with homeless and housing charity Shelter enables us to refer insurance people to them for in-depth housing advice, and in 2019 we forged a partnership with Alzheimer’s Society to provide support for those affected by dementia. Now, as an official Dementia Connect referral partner, we can point people to Dementia Connect, a new personalised support service for anyone with dementia.
The partnership also provides volunteering opportunities for those in the industry who can give up to an hour a week of their time. A ‘Companion Caller’ provides telephone calls to those experiencing isolation.
Further, for two years we have also worked with mental health organisation Aware in Ireland to support Irish insurance professionals experiencing anxiety and depression. We have fully funded several courses of CBT which have been very well received over the last few challenging years.
The Insurance Charities has helped many people who have fled a violent relationship and in June last year, we sponsored an essential update of the Domestic Abuse Toolkit for Employers, which is free to download.
Do you have any figures to underline the support you have offered?
In the last year we awarded £612,000 to those facing challenging circumstances, but we have more to give and want to ensure we reach all those who need our support.
We also published our 2021/2022 Impact Report https://www.theinsurancecharities.org.uk/impact-report-2021-2022/ at the end of June, which provides an in-depth breakdown of the support we have provided, and to whom.
Have you noticed an increase in demand for your support as inflation bites?
We know that things are going to be difficult for many people over the next year so would encourage people to speak to us sooner rather than later so we can get a plan in place and alleviate some of the worry about meeting essential costs such as food, mortgage, and travel. Even if you’ve been helped by us before, we could still assist if things become difficult again.
Are you introducing any new initiatives and services soon?
We are always exploring new areas of potential support for those in the industry, but developing partnerships with trusted charities takes time and we want to ensure we are working with the most appropriate organisations to deliver the best possible support for our beneficiaries.
We are in the process of developing sessions for young insurance professionals in Ireland and through our work with Aware we are supporting those who with mental health concerns brought about by Covid-19 and revised onboarding and working arrangement. We will be publishing further details about this as they become available.
How are you raising awareness of the support you offer?
The Charity is always happy to present to organisations or meet with appropriate colleagues to discuss our work. We also have free downloadable employer resources available on our website to share internally, and encourage all insurance employers to get involved in our annual awareness week each June.
We also publish a quarterly newsletter which anyone can sign up to on our website.Tweet
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