QBE launches Financial Inclusion Action Plan to support vulnerable customers and communities
QBE Insurance Australia (QBE) today published a suite of initiatives to support vulnerable customers and communities. The Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) is one of the actions being taken by QBE to meet the needs of customers facing hardship and will help to build resilience in the community by improving financial inclusion.
The plan consists of 29 programs designed to strengthen financial inclusion for QBE’s customers, community partners, suppliers and employees, and improve access to services.
Vivek Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer at QBE Australia Pacific, said the FIAP is designed to make it easier for customers to access services and to help build resilience in the communities in which QBE operates.
“Through the FIAP we will enhance our customer-focused approach to designing our products and services to ensure they are simpler and easier to understand, ensuring the whole community can access the insurance they need. A simplified car insurance product, to be released soon, is a great example of this.
“We are also strengthening the ability of our people to support customers experiencing vulnerability, particularly in the area of financial acumen. Building this will support the financial wellbeing of our own people, and help us recognise and respond to customers most at risk of financial exclusion by referring them to critical support networks for assistance.”
Mr Bhatia said QBE was also reinforcing its commitment to an inclusive and supportive workplace by creating new pathways for people to access assistance when they are experiencing difficulties associated with family and domestic violence and mental health.
“We recognise these difficulties can have a significant impact on an individual’s financial wellbeing. Through strategic partnerships we are providing intensive training for our on-the-ground first responder network across our sites which can provide discrete, respectful, and empowering support and critical resources to help our employees experiencing these difficulties.”
Mr Bhatia said the launch of the FIAP was particularly timely in the wake of Australia’s Black Summer and in the midst of the health and economic crisis triggered by COVID-19.
“We know that many Australians are doing it tough right now. The drought, the bushfires and now the COVID-19 crisis have created significant hardship for many in our community, and it’s more important than ever that we work together to support those in need in our society and build resilience and financial inclusion for the future.
“Earlier this year, we announced a suite of measures, to support our SME and individual customers and partners impacted by COVID-19. These include motor insurance benefit, maintaining expiring premiums and premium deferrals. We also extended our employee wellbeing program to customers, broker partners and QBE Foundation partners. These are important measures that have helped take some of the pressure off our customers at this difficult time.
“We’re also providing vital support for the work of a number of our community partners including Orange Sky, the Stars Foundation, R U OK?, Foodbank, Red Cross and Save the Children."
The FIAP program, a partnership between Good Shepherd Microfinance, the Australian Government, EY and the Centre for Social Impact, promotes economic wellbeing and promotes financial inclusion.