Filed Under:Markets, Commercial Lines

Charitable Involvement: The Lesser-Known Side of the Insurance Industry

How Much Does the Insurance Industry Donate?

The insurance industry’s charitable donations are significant. But just how big are they?

No one knows exact numbers. One estimate: $500 million. That figure comes from a 2011 report prepared by McKinsey and Company, but only includes the property/casualty side of the industry.

That report, titled Charitable Giving in The Property-Casualty Insurance Industry, noted that direct contributions (including corporate cash, foundation cash and non-cash contributions such as product donations, donation of land/facility space and pro-bono services) made up 78 percent of the charitable giving. Indirect contributions (such as employee donations of cash or volunteer hours) represented the remaining 22 percent, by estimate.

Insurance Ahead of Other Industries

The McKinsey report calculated that the insurance industry gave contributions (as a percentage of pre-tax earnings) of 89 basis points. That was more than 10 basis points higher than the average of 78 basis points across all industries.

As a percent of revenue, McKinsey calculated that the insurance industry is on par with other industries at 10 basis points, the average across all industries.

Company-Led Volunteerism Thrives

Zurich employees helped rehabilitate green and affordable units for families in Central Brooklyn.

Some insurance employers view charitable and community involvement as an employee benefit. Their approach is that charitable involvement not only helps the community, but also provides motivation and rewards for workers.

These companies base their charitable involvement not only on executives’ own desire to have their firms involved in the community—but also the realization that many employees (especially younger employees) choose their job based partly on the company’s community involvement.

Examples of company initiatives, among many across the industry, include:

  • HUB Gives is a charitable and community-giving program that enables employees to donate time and service to community projects. This formal companywide volunteerism program, the company says, “taps into [employees’] energy with the goal of expanding our contribution in the local communities where we do business.”
  • ACE’s U.S. employees volunteer locally as part of a companywide program, many in tandem with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s Week of Giving in October. These efforts in 2012 included staff in New Jersey, Denver and California volunteering at the community food banks, as well as New York employees pitching in at The Children's Storefront, a Harlem, NY-based, tuition-free school serving children in grades K-8.
  • Tower Group Companies’ employees engaged in a friendly food drive competition to see which office could make the largest impact, resulting in 3,100 items and $13,500 in donations to food banks.
  • CSE Insurance Group teamed with the San Francisco Sheriffs Foundation to provide California teachers $25,000 for back-to-school class room supplies, giving 125 teachers shopping carts with $200 worth of school supplies for the coming year, tax free.
  • CNA provides community support through the CNA Foundation, corporate contributions, in-kind services, and volunteering. Employees volunteered with more than 200 organizations in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Nonprofit organizations received donations of more than $450,000 as well as $500,000 through the employee matching gift program.
  • Endurance’s yearly “Community ENHancement” day includes more than 250 employees from offices in five countries, who volunteer at regional food banks as well as various charities focused on children’s education programs and support of U.S. military families.
  • Allied World's 11 U.S. offices sponsor and work with organizations that support healthcare, education and the arts.
  • Zurich marked its 100th anniversary with a “100 Ways of Impact” effort, surpassing its goal of 100 community service projects by tallying more than 465 projects that provided 24,929 hours assisting 278 non-profits across North America.
  • Aon contributed more than $10 million to 1,500 organizations through grants, contributions, sponsorships and employee matching gifts during 2012. Aon’s Global Service Day resulted in more than 27,000 hours of volunteer service in 120 countries. In the U.S., Aon supported a number of organizations including Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, and the American Heart Association.
  • The annual Chubb Charity Challenge golf tournament has raised more than $10 million for organizations across the country since its inception in 1999.

Week of Giving: An Industry Volunteerism Tradition Builds to 36 States in 2012

A Travelers employee volunteered at The INN, a Long Island, N.Y. charity that supports the local community with food programs. The company created multiple teams to volunteer regularly.

Insurance professionals in 36 states volunteered during the IICF’s Week of Giving October 13-20, 2012. More than 3,500 insurance professionals provided 11,000 hours of service to non-profits across the country.

IICF arranged volunteer opportunities with numerous charities in the areas of disaster preparedness, education, the environment, housing, senior issues, women’s issues, and youth and children.

Volunteer teams from a cross-section of industry firms—carriers, reinsurance companies, independent agencies, brokerage firms, consulting firms, law firms, trade associations and other industry-related companies—took part.

Since 1998, IICF volunteers have provided 166,000 hours of volunteer service.

A Nascent Effort to Mobilize Employee Giving

During IICF Week of Giving in October 2012, a volunteer from IIABNY (Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York) worked with students through the InVEST education program created by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.

A significant part of charitable giving from within the insurance industry comes directly from employees, with volunteer and other efforts that cover a broad spectrum of interests and charities. These contributions result from hundreds of thousands of individual decisions and there is no known estimate of how much money or time they might involve.

To support workers’ charitable instincts, in 2012 the IICF debuted a giving campaign aimed for insurance industry employees. For the first time ever, the giving campaign invited every insurance professional to donate online or through text message. The personal giving campaign tallied $52,000 for Feeding America, Starlight Children’s Foundation, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project, and local nonprofits across the country.

Insurance Employees, Employers Reach Out in Widespread Sandy Relief Effort

After Superstorm Sandy, 88 Zurich workers in Manhattan hopped on a bus and traveled to the Rockaways in the Queens borough of New York City to clear piles of sand and debris from a local playground.

The year 2012 was memorable for the unprecedented Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast. It not only created significant insurance losses, but also personally impaired the homes and businesses of employees and companies based in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The industry’s charitable efforts spiked in response to the storm, and continue through ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts. Here are some examples of the industry’s charitable response:

  • The ACE Charitable Foundation donated $250,000 to the American Red Cross, and matched employee donations at 100 percent.
  • Travelers Companies provided $800,000 to disaster relief efforts in the New York tri-state area to Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, American Red Cross on Long Island, Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and the American Red Cross of Connecticut.
  • Chubb Corp. established a $1 million fund for disaster relief efforts.
  • Members and staff of the Independent Agents and Brokers of NY gathered and donated more than 1000 bags of Thanksgiving food items to Superstorm Sandy families.
  • The MetLife Foundation pledged $1 million toward relief and rebuilding efforts, including $500,000 to the American Red Cross and $500,000 to support long-term recovery needs.
  • W. R. Berkley Corp. its employees, and the Berkley Family donated more than $500,000 to support nonprofits in affected areas.
  • Numerous insurance employees and employers took up shovels, mops and other tools to work hands-on to clean up and clear out damaged homes throughout the tri-state area.

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