Insurance gets a bad rap in the mainstream media for being all take and no give. Those who work in the industry know better. Here we chronicle three examples of insurers giving back to those most in need.

Rebuilding the place of healing

In April 2014, Tropical Cyclone Ita slammed into the east coast of Cape York. The strongest cyclone to impact Queensland since the infamous Cyclone Yasi in 2011, with wind speeds at landfall exceeding 160kph, Ita decimated the local sugar cane and banana farming industry and left many homes and businesses beyond repair.

Once such establishment was Des Bowen’s Yungee Healing Place, located in the Hope Vale township, 46km north of Cooktown. The Healing Place was dedicated to helping youth from the surrounding indigenous communities redefine their attitude toward domestic violence, and nurturing those at risk of suicide. Without it, a vital means of positively engaging a highly vulnerable group was lost.

The centre organises fishing trips and camps for members of the community, as well as assisting young families with childcare and other domestic responsibilities. Centre founders and community Elders Des and Estelle Bowen found themselves unable to facilitate their usual activities, and the community didn’t have the means to rebuild.

They put out a plea for assistance, and Suncorp was among those who stepped up to the plate. Staff activity across Australia helped raise $10,000, and with a little help from Suncorp’s panel building teams of Nuveau Constructions Qld, RPF Building and Dankav, reconstruction work commenced in late 2015.

After 4 weeks’ hard yakka, the new-and-improved Des Bowen’s Place was reopened – much to the delight of the Bowens, who are able to continue their sterling work.

“This really picked me up because now I can go on with our dream,” Des Bowen said. “At the beginning it didn’t look too bright. Now it’s as if I’m on Cloud Nine.”

View more about the rebuild project here.


Bringing cutting edge care to remote locations

Rural farmers across Australia are now able to gain free access leading medical care, thanks to a new agreement between CGU and Best Doctors.

The Best Doctors service provides remote access to international experts, who work with a current diagnosis to offer patients second opinions, treatment plans and advice.

While limited to CGU’s rural customers and family members with a CountryPak policy, the collaboration represents a big step forward for customers living in remote, regional communities.

“Our rural customers often find it difficult to access specialist medical support due to their remote locations, so we see this partnership as a great way to help them and their families gain access to the very best advice and treatment plans,” said Donna Walker, IAG Executive General Manager Broker Business.

Her sentiments were shared by Best Doctors Advisory Board member, Dr John Mayhew, who added: “Second opinions are becoming more common practice these days and Best Doctors offers patients and treating doctors the opportunity to seek an additional opinion from a global expert nominated by their peers as the best in their field, and helps ensure they provide the best possible care for their patients.”


Insurance opportunities for refugees and migrants

Refugees and migrants who have settled in Australia could earn a chance to establish a career in insurance thanks to a partnership between Allianz Australia and Settlement Services International (SSI).

Over the next two years, Allianz will offer permanent placements for up to 10 SSI clients per year, with SSI identifying potential recruits and providing ongoing support.

The first group of recruits took up employment at Allianz in March 2016, made up of three women and two men from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Vietnam – all of who came to Australia as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Their qualifications are in the areas of accounting, business management, community services, legal, and banking and insurance.

The scheme is designed to mirror the first year of Allianz’s existing graduate program and will include two job rotations in the company within 12 months that align to the employees’ background, skills and experience. After the two rotations, Allianz will work with participants to identify a suitable permanent role.

Allianz will also provide educational scholarships to assist recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers to integrate successfully into their new communities.

Speaking about the relationship, SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said: “Both research and SSI’s anecdotal experience tell us that although the motivation to work is high among refugees who settle in Australia, this does not necessarily lead to employment.

“Refugees with no Australian work experience, no affordable options for the recognition of their skills and qualifications, and limited access to English language tuition face difficulties in gaining access to sustainable employment pathways.

“Large corporates like Allianz have enormous potential to create jobs, open access to education and basic services, and deliver innovative solutions.”