June 19, 2023
It is a charity that spent £1.3 million in 2022 on helping insurance professionals in the UK and Ireland – and is calling for the industry to unite amid cost of living challenges....
The Insurance Charities Awareness Week runs from Monday 20 to Friday 24 June 2022.
It’s an important moment, every year, when the insurance industry is urged to renew its support for a charity that spends up to £1million a year helping people and their families.
Catalyst Services UK Managing Director Brad Jackson explains why he is a big supporter of the charity and what others can do to assist in its important work.
The Insurance Charities – the name reflects the merger of different charities over the years – is dedicated to helping people who work, and who once worked, in the insurance industry and related services, plus their families and dependants, if they are experiencing hardship. It was established in the City of London in 1902 as The Insurance Clerks Orphanage. The charity now helps people with links to the insurance sector right across the UK and Ireland.
I think what the charity achieves each year is very significant indeed. For example, just in monetary terms, it authorised spending of £612,000 in 2021/22 to help individuals and families.
That was made up of 401 awards, the largest £34,000 and the smallest was £50.
Breaking down the total spent, £389,000 – just under 64% – was made up of donations to relieve day-to-day hardship, £134,000 paid for property adaptations, and £12,000 for counselling.
Donations were made to pay for advanced rents and deposits (£10,000), education grants (£26,000) and specialist assessments and therapies (£20,000).
Because many of the donations benefit families, may hundreds if not thousands of people have been directly helped. Many, many more loved ones, friends and relatives also have the peace of mind of knowing people they care about are being supported.
Not at all. The Insurance Charities has built up a network of contacts at other charities across the UK and Ireland that helps it put people in touch with the experts who can assist with specific needs.
That includes Aware, in Irelands, Shelter, and Alzheimer’s Society. Problems can be triggered by a wide range of issues, including poor health, relationship breakdowns, domestic abuse, financial problems and bereavement.
The Insurance Charities’ aim is to get people – including carers – the right help they need as quickly as possible. As we leave behind the COVID-19 pandemic, and face a cost of living crisis, this work is more relevant than ever.
I’m am council member of the Insurance Institute of Manchester and have the privilege of being it’s The Insurance Charities representative. As such, I have a voluntary role as The Insurance Charities Ambassador for the North West.
Part of my work involves carrying out assessment visits to the homes of people who have applied for assistance from the charity – or have been the subject of an application on their behalf by carers, relatives or loved ones.
This reflects an important element of The Insurance Charities’ work. It’s supported by volunteers across the UK and Ireland who want to help people involved in the industry they work in. They see, first-hand, the difference the charity makes to the lives of hundreds of people.
Put simply, I want to help other people. I think there’re a lot of people in the insurance industry who feel the same way. As an industry, we help people in their hour of need, and the same applies to supporting The Insurance Charities.
For me, there’s a personal reason, as well. Before I set up Catalyst in 2014, I was made redundant and applied to the charity to help with housing costs in the short term while I planned my business.
My need wasn’t as great as that of many people the charity supports. But it was a real help to me at the time. It also reflects the breadth of support The Insurance Charities provides. I now feel very strongly that I want to give as much as I can back to supporting the charity in continuing its work.
None of us know what might be around the corner. The Insurance Charities’ slogan is ‘For the things you can’t insure against’. So, having this fund and expert advice available is vital for hundreds of people every year – and I’m proud our industry has such a valuable resource.
An assessment I’ve carried out for the charity in the last 12 months involved visiting the home of an elderly gentleman. It was clear he was struggling to cope, which meant he was living in an increasingly disorganised home.
I put together a report on his needs for the charity and also helped him source local contractors to carry out the work needed to make him more comfortable, safe and happy.
We can now monitor this gentleman’s situation and provide further support in the future, and make sure other agencies, like social services, are aware of his needs.
The Insurance Charities Awareness Week is an annual campaign to let as many people know about the charity’s work and support it through fundraising or voluntary action.
The charity wants to be sure it can reach the people who need help the most. This may happen through insurance related businesses or people in the community who once worked in the industry or are now retired.
Of course, if other agencies and charities and charities know about The Insurance Charities, they can signpost people to it for assistance, or apply for support on their behalf.
The charity wants build strong relationships, in particular, with people who have wellbeing, health and safety and CSR responsibilities in businesses and organisations.
They’re well placed to know who in their organisations and the community can benefit from the charity’s work. They can also coordinate efforts to support the charity, for example through voluntary work and fundraising.
The charity also wants to be clear about who can benefit. For example, working and non-working people can apply for assistance. You don’t have to belong to a professional body or association to access help.
People in all roles in the insurance industry and related businesses are helped. The charity also supports dependants of eligible people working in the industry, such as partners and children.
It’s also important to be clear the charity is completely independent and all applications are managed sensitively and confidentially, according to clear criteria.
First and foremost, the charity wants insurance businesses to promote its work, both during the awareness week and after it, through their regular communications channels.
For example, they can add details to staff email signatures. They can put up posters or send out an e-shot to key contacts. They can publish a story on the news section of their website or in the media. Also, of course, they can promote the charity through their social media channels.
The Insurance Charities has a campaign toolkit with these ideas and lots more, along with the kind of messages it would like to be send out.
Also, businesses and individuals can fundraise for the charity or get in touch to see what other voluntary support it needs, either as a one-off project or as part of long-term support for its work.
A good idea would be to sign up to the charity’s quarterly newsletter, sharing news and ideas for those who want to support its work. It’s an excellent way to stay in touch and prompt activity if you can help.
The Insurance Charities does brilliant work every year across the UK and Ireland for hundreds of people. It’s good to know it’s there. As an industry, we need to continue to do all we can to support it.
Find out more about The Insurance Charities or join Catalyst in supporting its work, contact Brad Jackson: [email protected].
Download The Insurance Charities flyer about its aims and objectives.
View The Insurance Charities guide to getting involved with its work.