Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Award winner: Covea

D&I Covea
Covea’s director of HR and learning Lisa Meigh and chief operating officer Adrian Furness collected the award from Stephanie Denton

Following last month's Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards we caught up with all the winners. Today we talk to Lisa Meigh, the director of HR & learning about Covea's win in the Staff Empowerment category.

Can you explain what Covéa has done to create an ‘empowered’ staff culture across the business?

Covéa Insurance has a clear strategic goal to be a great place to work. Our inclusivity strategy supports this goal by ensuring we ‘do the right thing’ for our employees. We believe getting this right makes our business stronger and delivers better outcomes for our customers.

Our broader Diversity and Inclusion strategy has helped to drive employee engagement and establish a culture where our people feel empowered to get behind the issues that matter to them.

‘Covéa Minds’ is a mental health initiative led by employees and sponsored by a Covéa Insurance executive director.  The initiative has been driven by the passion, kindness and energy of our people who have taken ownership to facilitate an organisational cultural shift around attitudes to mental health. The outcome has been to establish a safe and supportive work environment, where mental health can be openly discussed without judgement.

To support this, we’ve trained up mental health first-aiders, trained dementia friends, partnered with a mental health advocate (Luke Ambler) to run resilience workshops, openly shared personal stories of mental health, held well-being events such as yoga, created chill-out rooms in each site, and run vulnerable customer workshops to increase the empathy within our organisation for those suffering with mental health or dementia.

Since it was launched what has the response/impact been?

Since the launch of Covéa Minds, we have seen a positive turnaround in attitudes towards mental health at work.  It has been inspiring, honest and brave of our people, including members of our senior management and executive team, to share personal stories of how they have dealt with mental health challenges. The impact has been powerful.

We now have over 30 mental health first-aiders covering all sites to ensure help is always at hand and we have over 460 Dementia Friends, all providing extra support for our people and customers who might be struggling with the issues confronted by mental health.

The key to the success of this initiative has been empowering our people. We believe that by really getting this right, our business is stronger, and we can deliver better outcomes for our customers. 

The importance we place on our people is evidenced through Gold Investors in People status and Best Companies Employee Engagement survey results. Over 90% of our people say Covéa Insurance can be trusted by customers/clients, and we’ve been named one of the Top 75 Companies to Work for in Yorkshire & the Humber.  We also hold the highest available accolade from the Institute of Customer Service, ‘Service Mark with Distinction’, for our personal lines, commercial & high net worth claims departments. This really shows that employee engagement goes hand in hand with delivering great customer service.

Where could this initiative go next?

We’ve had an unprecedented reaction to our resilience workshops that we ran with Luke Ambler, former Ireland international rugby league footballer. They were so popular, we’ve extended these and will run more on a range of topics, all aimed at giving our people the tools to be able to deal with mental health issues.

How supportive is the group in terms of raising the profile and boosting the acceptance of D&I across the business?

The group have been unbelievably supportive in raising the profile and acceptance of mental health issues in broader context of workplace inclusivity. It doesn’t get much more real than people in high profile roles talking about their own mental health challenges to convince others that it’s OK to talk.

We believe one of the reasons the mental health message has resonated so powerfully across the business is that mental health affects so many people in so many ways.  t’s the number one cause of disability worldwide, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing it at some point. Within our business alone, this represents around 500 employees, emphasising the importance of reducing the stigma of mental health as a key element of our commitment to workplace inclusivity.

What was it like being a winner at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards?

It was an incredibly proud moment, not just for me but for our amazingly passionate people across our business; the people that have been owning and driving our D&I activities and making Covéa Insurance such a great place to work.  We brought the award straight back and gave it to our D&I ambassadors and the award is now being circulated around our offices.  This award was a recognition of the importance we place on empowering our staff and we couldn’t be more delighted.

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