By Lisa Lounsbury, CAE, AAI, AIS,
Big I NY President & CEO
The insurance industry is AMAZING.
It pays claims and provides financial support when there is a loss;
It supports someone starting their dream business or buying their dream house;
It provides “peace of mind" that an individual's or business's assets are protected.
But, what makes the insurance industry AMAZING is its heart. I am constantly blown away by the meaningful ways that our industry “gives back".
An insurance agent who quietly bought, collected and refurbished hundreds of bikes over many years to provide to inner city youth who could not afford one;
The insurance agency that just underwrote and helped organize a major fundraiser to support a local children's hospital;
The insurance agent who spent two days every week with her “little sister" until she went to community college;
The local association that made beds together for a charity that provides beds to youth who do not have one;
The insurance carrier that underwrote the costs of playground equipment and supported its employees to install and build it for an impoverished community.
I could go on and on with these examples; the industry and people who work in it have heart.
But, we have a major problem.
We don't talk about it as an industry.
We are modest.
We don't want to seem self-serving.
We don't want to seem boastful—that we are “giving" for the “wrong" reasons.
Stop being modest.
Stop keeping your story to yourself or your organization.
Start telling your stories.
Talk about the causes that you and your organization are passionate about and why.
Explain how you support them.
A lot of good will come from it.
First, it is good for the charity. It gives them FREE PR and marketing. They need you to be an ambassador for their organization and talk about the way you support them. If you do this, you essentially “multiply" your support of them.
Second, it changes the “perception" of the insurance industry. Unfortunately, most news about our industry is negative. Insurance is generally triggered when there is a problem. Public media loves to beat the industry up. Instead of reacting to all of the negativity, let's be proactive and control the narrative. If the industry proactively talks about philanthropic activities, it changes the story and the image.
The last reason to share your story is to attract talent—the right talent. Younger generations place a high value on social responsibility. They are attracted to organizations that “give back". They eagerly participate in workplace volunteer activities. In addition to attracting new talent, overall employee morale is raised.
I recently attended an IICF (Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation) board meeting. The IICF helps communities and enriches lives by uniting the collective strength of the insurance industry in providing grants, volunteer service and leadership. We awarded ten $2,500 grants to local charities around the Tri-state area. The work that these groups do is meaningful to the audiences they serve.
My challenge for you is simple: Start telling your story. Share your story on your digital channels and include #insurancegivesback and #biginewyork.