Building financial resilience

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The challenge

Too many people are living without suitable protection against shocks like long-term illness and death, which leaves them, their families and broader society in difficulty.

How we can help

While we can’t completely prevent life shocks, we can help people to prepare for them by building financial resilience and providing the support they need to recover.

We believe the best ways we can help people to build resilience that can weather life’s storms are through three key areas. Our affordable, accessible and reliable products – from funeral plans and life insurance, to specialist cover for diabetes – allow people to prepare for life’s shocks. We also aim to raise awareness and improve outcomes for customers by campaigning publicly on issues that impact financial resilience, and by working to help people manage and take responsibility for their own finances.

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1 Committed to…

helping more people get protection

People need protection to help prevent life shocks becoming a crisis. That’s why we’re determined to remove potential barriers that can cause many individuals and families to be underinsured, or not insured at all. With innovative new products and a more inclusive way of doing things, we’re helping to make it easier, quicker and simpler to arrange cover, get value for money and access support when it’s needed.

How we're delivering on this commitment:

  • Developing new features, products and services that address key customer barriers, such as long application times, changes in people’s circumstances or pre-existing medical conditions, and help to make insurance more affordable for more people.
  • Launching a unique Multi-Claim Protection Cover in Ireland, a market first, which allows people to make multiple claims off their policy over a period of time, providing cover for the impact of a serious illness such as a heart attack or receiving cancer treatment. It also covers other life shocks, for example, a long hospital stay after a serious road traffic accident or significant surgeries.
  • Creating pioneering life cover for people with diabetes and new products to support mental health. For example, a new underwriting philosophy allows us to offer life cover to more customers with histories of mental ill-health, which would have likely prevented them from getting cover for unrelated illnesses and accidents previously.

Both these products are also available with Helping Hand. This service provides practical and emotional support to customers who have experienced a shock to help them recover.

How we’re measuring progress – the number of new customers who couldn't previously access cover:

  • Throughout 2020, we were able to give cover to 136 people, many of whom had been declined cover previously. Though this is a modest number to start with, this was our first year measuring this. We’ll continue to identify challenges, expand access to insurance products and report on our progress.

How we're helping to prevent life shocks becoming a crisis: 

  • Providing cover so that shocks such as critical illness don’t leave people struggling financially.
  • Helping to reduce the non-financial impacts of shocks through services such as Helping Hand.
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2 Committed to…

reducing funeral poverty

The high cost of funerals is leaving many people struggling to cope with the financial burden of burying their loved ones. We have a proud history of helping people avoid funeral poverty. It’s the reason our company was founded. Today, we’re still actively tackling this age-old problem – raising awareness, actively campaigning for change, and providing practical support.

How we're delivering on this commitment:

  • Publishing our National Funeral Cost Index research report annually.
  • Campaigning to the Government to make improvements to the Funeral Expenses Payment and helping to establish a cross-party parliamentary working group on the issue.
  • Providing practical support, by working with the charity Quaker Social Action on their funeral support project 'Down to Earth'.

How we’re measuring progress – the number of people facing funeral poverty we support:

  • Through our partnership with Quaker Social Action, we enabled the organisation to support an additional 29 people between October and December 2020, with their case numbers continuing to increase – we aim to reach 160 people every year.
  • Based on the feedback they received, throughout 2020 Quaker Social Action helped people save an average of £1,480 on funeral costs, and raise an average of £1,309 in grants, etc, towards costs.

How we're helping to prevent life shocks becoming a crisis: 

  • Supporting vulnerable people with the cost of funerals for loved ones, to avoid building up debt and the mental health consequences of debt.
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3 Committed to…

giving people financial knowledge and skills they can use

The ability to manage money is an important skill. It helps people plan for future goals, such as buying a property or retirement. It can also make it a little easier to handle unexpected events, like being made redundant or losing a loved one – helping to prevent shocks becoming a crisis. That’s why we’re doing all we can to help people plan ahead and be financially prepared for whatever happens in life.

How we're delivering on this commitment: 

  • Empowering our customers to ask the right questions and developing easy to access, online resources and guides.
  • Training our customer service teams to be able to deal with broader financial issues and running financial capability employee workshops.
  • Working with industry partners and sharing our knowledge and expertise.

How we’re measuring progress – the number of people supported through our Telephone Guidance service

  • In 2020 we launched a pilot Telephone Guidance service that helped 193 pension customers who don’t have a financial adviser, and who are faced by a life shock.
  • Customers are offered a guidance call, signposted towards further help, and sent Royal London Money Guides on relevant topics.
  • 93% of customers surveyed in 2020 reported feeling more confident about making decisions.

How we're helping to prevent life shocks becoming a crisis: 

  • Helping people to manage their finances more effectively so they can save more and reduce, or avoid, debt when shocks happen.

Preventing life shocks becoming a crisis

Shocks such as a bereavement, illness or job loss are unfortunately part of life. We’ve identified three key social problems that we want to focus on to help prevent life shocks becoming a crisis – building financial resilience, taking on the long-term savings challenge and strengthening responsible business.