The insurance industry plays a vital role in protecting communities and those who live in them – whether it’s through helping individuals or companies to reduce risk or if it’s to protect against the unexpected. With the amount of risk the industry sees, it’s important to insurance companies and the professionals who work in them, that they’re doing their part to help others. The Insurance industry is filled with leaders in corporate social responsibility. Many leading insurance companies are involved with social responsibility initiatives to contribute to safer communities and reduce environmental impact at home and abroad. Social responsibility isn’t just a “good thing to do”, it’s also extremely important to young professionals entering the job market to work for an organization with meaningful and purposeful initiatives.
In our 2017 Decoding Gen-Z survey, 46% of young job seekers said they look for social responsibility initiatives when searching on an employer page. With social responsibility being an increasingly important factor in career exploration, we’re sharing ways the insurance industry participates in corporate social responsibility to give back to communities and abroad.
So, what is social responsibility exactly?
Social responsibility is the framework that businesses and individuals can contribute to with the goal of making a positive impact on social, environmental and societal factors in their communities, either at home or abroad. Social responsibility is not mandated, it’s something that companies participate above and beyond their everyday business activities, to not only help others, but to also encourage a positive work atmosphere and culture.
People and Philanthropy
The insurance industry is all about helping people and businesses through times of loss and the unexpected. This makes the industry very rewarding and meaningful for insurance professionals. To help even more, many companies encourage their employees to volunteer, either with the company or on their own! To encourage this practice, some companies provide paid days off for employees to volunteer or assist in a community project. Others have created their own volunteering groups that organize large scale projects, either on their own or partnering with various charity and non-profit organizations.
Other ways the insurance industry contributes to the community is through sponsorships and donations. Many companies partner with local clubs, charities, non-profits, and other organizations to support an array of initiatives in the community – such as in arts and culture, health initiatives, and athletic teams. Aviva Canada, for example, has a strong partnership with The Canadian Red Cross- Community Health and Wellness program that they share on their company’s corporate responsibility page.
Expertise and the Environment
When the insurance industry makes assessments regarding risk and the environment, they’re at the forefront in documenting what is happening with climate change. With rising waters, increased floods and natural disasters, the insurance industry can use this knowledge to better communities for everyone. To support communities having to adapt to climate change, some companies have even partnered with major Canadian Universities to create research projects to gain knowledge that can be shared and used to support future policies. An example of such a partnership can be seen in the creation of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaption.
Because of the insurance industry know-how and expertise, many insurance companies believe that providing support and influence on environmental concerns is their civic duty. For this reason, companies make their assessments and reports public in order to better serve the community and local governments in making an impact for future practices and preventative measures.
Creating Change Internally
Social responsibility also includes looking inward at a company’s practices. It’s not only about what a company does for their external environment, it’s important to create positive social good internally as well. This includes employee benefits, health and safety practices, creating an open, safe, and inclusive atmosphere, along with finding ways to reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
Some impacts can be on a smaller scale such as upgrading lighting systems and print management to reduce both electricity output and paper waste. Other companies have larger social good projects and have become members of the United Nations Global Impact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative which is committed to aligning business operations with the Compact’s 10 Principles, on topics about human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.
Explore Ways to Get Involved
There are many ways to get involved in social responsibility through the insurance industry. Typically, companies will have their social responsibility practices available on their website, so take some time to explore this on company profiles when applying to positions in the insurance industry. This will give you a better understanding of their values and overall commitment to their clients, their team, the community, and the environment!