Roundtable Highlights Insurers' Commitment to D&I
Insurers are increasingly making corporate social responsibility (CSR) and diversity and inclusion (D&I) touchstones for their philanthropy. This year’s Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) Media Roundtable highlighted how insurers are engaging more fully with local communities in pursuit of these standards, while attempting to make a bigger impact by partnering with non-profit organisations.
Established in 1994, the IICF is a non-profit organisation that represents the insurance industry, providing grants and volunteer services and holding leadership and fundraising events. Its annual roundtable provides a platform for the industry to share philanthropic initiatives and insights.
Some insurers have big budgets and a foundation. AIG, for example, donated $27 million in charitable contributions and matching grants in 2021. Others look to stretch more limited budgets.
Sarah Morin, community relations lead, The Hartford, explained how they revised their strategy in 2021. “We don’t have a foundation and operate from the corporate budget. Therefore, to really ensure the greatest impact with our limited dollars we are seeking to align and partner with established organisations that have proven success and those resources to really drive positive outcomes.”
This year’s recurring themes included education and career opportunities. Both AIG and EY highlighted their longstanding collaboration with Junior Achievement, the global NGO youth organisation. AIG said it helped over 10,000 children in 21 countries with financial literacy programs, while EY claimed that in the past five years over 13,000 EY volunteers have contributed their skills to the organisation.
We are seeking to align and partner with established organisations that have proven success
EY talked about its participation in JA Inspire Virtual, a virtual careers fair that brings together the business community and local schools, enabling students to interact with professionals and learn about necessary skills for future careers.
While CNA showcased its partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), which supports black students with scholarships and internships. As well as providing scholarships, CNA is involved in the TMCF Early Innovators Program that provides three-day entrepreneurial training for high school students.
CNA’s Raisa Correa, PR & CSR senior consultant, showed these students being put into teams and tasked with developing solutions to business or social problems, while being mentored by CNA and local college coaches. They then pitch their ideas to a panel of CNA judges. In this way, they gain experiences unavailable in normal school settings.
Meanwhile, Morin discussed how the Hartford – which is committed to helping its closest community to its headquarters in Asylum Hill, Hartford, Connecticut – has committed $1 million in scholarships to 50 Uconn Hartford students, with many being first-generation college-goers.
Hartford has also partnered with its local United Way to bring the Hartford Working Cities Initiative – which focuses on reducing unemployment among young adults – to Asylum Hill. Also, this year they are looking to place a job navigator in the neighbourhood to connect employers with young people seeking jobs.
Munich Re is also committed to building inclusive talent pipelines notably through its Dare-to-Dream program, which works with many non-profits in Chicago tapping into their partnerships and relationships with students and the community to expose them to career opportunities in the insurance industry. They intend to grow the program in other communities too.
Meanwhile, the IICF itself is developing tools and initiatives to enable IICF charities that work with young people, veterans and non-traditional workers to more easily find out about insurance careers. It has launched Talent Hub, a microsite providing information for non-traditional jobseekers about advantages of working in insurance and ways to connect to opportunities and resources. The pilot for a cross-company mentorship program will also be rolled out in the near future.
AIG, Munich Re and H.W. Kaufman Financial Group all mentioned their employee resource groups (representing different ethnic or Pride employees) in promoting greater inclusion through either sponsoring causes important to their communities, discussing such topics as culture and equal opportunities or offering mentoring.
Munich Re said it is looking to strengthen its partnerships with organisations like the National African American Insurance Organisation, while internally it is increasing training around D&I.
In June, the IICF’s Inclusion in Insurance Regional Forums return, with events planned across the US and in London. These forums aim to engage the industry on actionable D&I initiatives.
Another key theme was the importance of supporting communities in times of crises. In the last two years, the world has endured a pandemic, while the increasing frequency of extreme weather events has put even more communities at risk.
With the onset of COVID-19 impacting food security for many, Kaufman, for example, has donated to over 50 food banks and distribution centres across the US and Canada through its Hope Against Hunger Campaign.
AIG also provided COVID-19 relief and supported community resilience, with donations to over 3,500 charities through the AIG Matching Grants Program in 2021.
Both Kaufman and AIG run relief funds for employees. Kaufman’s originated after a hurricane swept through one of its physical locations a few years back.
“Our employees wanted to help those colleagues affected, so what began informally evolved organically into a formal foundation. We empower our associates to donate into the Kaufman relief fund, with the Kaufman family matching dollar for dollar. We also find this strengthens team work and camaraderie,” said Kaufman’s Oniel Franso, corporate vice president, human resources.
Likewise, AIG created its Compassionate Colleagues Fund, through which it invested over $2 million for the first time in 2021, and provided over $500,000 through 700 grants to support colleagues facing financial hardship.
What began informally evolved organically into a formal foundation
Meanwhile, Verisk has donated its risk-analysis and data-modelling expertise to disaster-prone areas, assisting in humanitarian work.
Verisk’s Maplecroft business, which covers over 45 risk considerations, helps the International Rescue Commission put countries most at risk from a humanitarian perspective onto its emergency watch-list. In Bhutan, Verisk monitors earthquakes for GeoHazards International (a non-profit helping vulnerable communities better prepare for natural disasters) and funds local production of earthquake-resilient school desks.
Verisk also supports the US’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and Team Rubicon (a non-governmental disaster-response organisation that teams US military veterans with first responders and trained civilians) in their rapid relief efforts for communities hit by disaster.
They support Team Rubicon financially and with access to business consultants and claims estimating and replacement tools (for example Xactimate), so communities can move on and rebuild.
The IICF in response to the Ukraine crisis, has launched a humanitarian relief fund, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross, Save the Children and CARE.
Volunteering has been able to continue throughout the pandemic. For instance, despite being limited to virtual volunteerism only throughout 2021, AIG said colleagues around the world volunteered over 20,000 hours. As the working community returns to a more normal routine, more initiatives are expected to be expanded or introduced within the charitable space.