Tonight the Prince’s Trust Insurance Leadership Group celebrates breaking the £5m fund-raising barrier with a reception at the Chartered Insurance Institute. Jonathan Swift reflects on the group’s achievements in its five year lifespan.
If there was one thing the recent riots brought home it was the need to help develop the skills, confidence and motivation of unemployed young people to get their lives back on track.
This was summed up perfectly by Grant Ellis, chairman of The Broker Network Group and Countrywide Insurance Marketing, when he recently joined the committee of ILG.
IMPACT OF THE RIOTS
"The recent riots have left communities torn apart with insurers facing a huge responsibility to react quickly and sympathetically," he said.
"It makes more sense than ever for us as an industry to be supporting vulnerable young people living in some of the country's most deprived areas, giving them access to wider opportunities and helping to prevent them from resorting to criminal activity. "
Mr Ellis was the latest high profile industry figure to throw his weight behind the ILG, but what of its beginnings and successes to date.
The origins of the ILG date back to 2003 when Steve Verrall's firm Sirius joined the The Trust's Technology Leadership Group as a result of attending a lunch raising awareness of The Trust's work hosted by Angus Ogilvy in London.
"While I was broadly aware of the work of The Prince's Trust, I was moved by the success stories it could share in working with disadvantaged young people," Mr Verrall comments. "The extensive network of volunteers, as well as the optimism and positive attitude towards working with vulnerable young people, was impressive too."
Mr Verrall was also interested in the charity's Enterprise Programme where The Trust helps young people to set up their own business - something he could relate too having founded Policymaster [which was to become Sirius] in 1984
"The discussions at that lunch and in follow up meetings convinced me that this was something worthwhile in becoming more involved with. It would give the company some focus in its CSR work, enable us to support and develop young people and of course network with other technology companies," he continues.
"However, while Sirius was a software company, we were operating exclusively in the world of insurance and most of our networking was with brokers and insurers. I thought it would be really good if we could have a similar interest or ‘leadership' group for our industry.
"So I started talking to The Trust about the setting up a second leadership group - the ILG. I think this was new ground for The Trust at the time, although there are numerous leadership groups today. The highly successful TLG was at that time unique and The Trust had not developed a strategy for widening the concept into other industry sectors."
NO SECTOR SPECIFIC GROUP
When he started the process, Mr Verrall concedes there were a handful of existing insurance industry Trust supporters, but adds they were not focused as a sector specific group, or involved in any collective activity on behalf of the industry. And that overall the sector seemed to be light in its support of The Trust.
Mr Verrall adds that he found this surprising as there were real benefits to the UK Insurance Industry from working with The Trust, namely, encouraging and helping vulnerable young people to be able do something meaningful and constructive - in many cases as an alternative to being drawn into criminality - criminality that costs insurers. Helping young people to be enterprising and start their own businesses also has benefits because in economic terms The Prince's Trust has helped 77 000 young people since 1983- businesses that all need to buy insurance.
Having received the greenlight from Julian Barrell, director of fundraising at The Trust to set about trying to establish the ILG , Mr Verrall admits he was "very fortunate" The Trust responded by recruiting a ‘dedicated' team member to assist him.
He also found support from within his own organization: "I am also very grateful for the tireless support of my then colleague at Sirius Mike Dodd, who remains involved with the ILG today.
"Together we set about targeting our industry friends with a series of awareness lunches at Mossimans in London and had a tremendous response. We are very grateful to that early band of converts who soon became evangelists for the ILG; in fact the response was well beyond our expectation and we had an amazing success rate."
In these early days Mr Verrall admits that the majority of new members were provincial brokers. "They were quick to make a decisions and were then very good at getting their own staff involved at a local level, using their contact bases to widen membership," he adds. "We found support from Insurers varied, with some donations coming from their CSR departments and others using marketing budgets as they saw the group as a meaningful networking vehicle."
Mr Verrall was chair of the ILG in its first 3 years - stepping down at the end of 2008 having sold his company to SSP and leaving the industry. By then he recollects - with some pride - that it had established a membership of some 46 organisations - many of them patrons.
DELIGHTED BY MILESTONE
" I am absolutely delighted that not only has the ILG survived in what have been a difficult few years - but has gone on to achieve this remarkable milestone of having raised £5m - a sum that will have helped thousands of disadvantaged young people to make something of their lives."
And the support continues today from a number of different firms, something which was brought home last week when the ILG's annual football tournament saw 28 teams contesting for the Groupama-sponsored Insurance Cup, raising £21 000 in the process.
"From an industry perspective it's blinding obvious why we should all get involved," comments Paul Maidment ACII, head of distribution & marketing, CNA Insurance Company.
"Too many idle hands and widespread disillusionment can only lead to greater frustration and anger amongst a generation hungry for a future. We've seen what this can lead to if we don't show we're interested. We don't owe them a living, but we do owe them a chance."
Sandy Scott, chief executive officer of the Chartered Insurance Institute, is another keen supporter: "As the CII looks to celebrate the 100th year of its Chartered status next year, the duties bestowed by that Charter, of protecting the public by guiding the profession, are mirrored in our support for The Prince's Trust - by going straight to the heart of the problem and seeking to help the UK's disadvantaged youth move back into mainstream society and the workforce.
"The CII is an active supporter of many diverse charities, including the Insurance Charities, many of them locally based. The Insurance Charities is there to support those working within the insurance profession, whilst The Prince's Trust is outward looking, to wider society."
But is only fair the final word goes to Mr Verrall. So what were his highlights from his time at the ILG?
"The launch dinner back in 2005 attended by over 200 of the industry's leading figures; meeting the charity's founder and president, HRH The Prince of Wales, and seeing firsthand how passionate he is about the future of our young people; attending our ILG member lunches with a host of interesting speakers; meeting so many inspiring young people and hearing their stories; but most of all knowing the ILG continues today," he concludes.
Chairman - Peter Matson, Argo International
Vice-Chair - Liz Foster, Ingram Hawkins & Nock
Vice-Chair - Laurence Walker, SSP Holdings
Vice-Chair - James Geffen, MIller Insurance
Neil Atkins - SSP Holdings
Neil Clutterback - Allianz
Julian Enoizi - Argo International
Simon Moran - Premium Credit
Jeff Soar - Ernst & Young LLP
Grant Ellis - The Broker Network Group and Countrywide Insurance Marketing
Ant Gould - Chartered Insurance Institute
Chartered Insurance Institute
Lloyd's Charities Trust
Novae Group plc
SSP Holdings plc
The Association of British Insurers
British Insurance Brokers Association
Chief Vehicle Rentals
Close Premium Finance
Enrich Reward Ltd
Ernst & Young LLP
Greenwoods SolicitorsHawkins Forensics Investigators
Heath Lambert Group
Ingram, Hawkins & Nock
Liberty SyndicatesMarine Aviation and General
For more information contact [email protected] or call 0207 543 1222
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