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How working with QBE can help you achieve your sustainability goals

A few years ago, many businesses were focused on delivering shareholder value in the form of profit – usually at any cost and above all else.

The world has changed.

People want more from the businesses they work for, and work with. People expect more from the brands they consume.

“Societal expectations have changed really quickly,” says Rob Kosova, QBE’s General Manager, People Risk.

“The notion that shareholder value equates to profit at all costs is outdated, and shareholder value today includes a number of things that go towards creating a sustainable company – quality products, a good corporate reputation, and an obligation to remain connected to the community.”

In 2015, the UN set 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending poverty and hunger, creating sustainable cities and communities, quality education and climate action. All 17 are intended to be achieved by 2030.

These goals affect us all – from a single consumer to a multinational, and we can all contribute to the achievement of them.

“With businesses and customers looking for solutions to support their own SDG ambitions, QBE’s commitment to sustainability and our values in supporting people, businesses, and community is a logical alignment,” says Kosova.

At QBE we help businesses better respond to change and while we have our own plans for building sustainability, we’re also supporting our partners and customers by sharing our knowledge and insights to support their journey.”

At QBE, while there’s a keen focus on all 17 goals, five priority goals have been identified in the 2020 Sustainability Report:

SDG 1: No poverty
SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13: Climate action

What QBE’s sustainability goals mean for brokers

From a broker’s perspective, initiatives that focus on these goals provide a rather compelling story to tell to customers. We know sustainability is an increasingly important topic for many people - and actions, as the adage goes, speak louder than words.

Over recent times QBE has launched a number of people-and-risk-related initiatives that directly link the day-to-day business – and premise – of insurance and help us deliver sustainable development. These in turn, can help your customers choose you, as a partner of QBE.

But QBE’s commitment to sustainability doesn’t stop with these initiatives, the team works with brokers in an advisory capacity to help develop their own sustainability goals as well as working on specific pitches and projects too.

Janette O’Neill, Head of Sustainability at QBE says, “Our Group Sustainability team can support pitches for customers and provide this sort of insight.”

“We might be looking at a specific product, but there is the opportunity to link how it supports broader societal issues and illustrate how it supports sustainability objectives.

“If you're competing against other organisations with very similar products but you have all these additional insights to provide regarding sustainability – as a company and as a corporate citizen, it gives you the edge. So we want to help brokers think about that, to enable them to have some of those conversations with their customers.”

So what initiatives are we delivering that can help you achieve your sustainability goals?

Q Academy

Back view of a man attending a QBE Q Academy virtual online training course on his laptop

To enable QBE to keep helping and educating customers and partners during the pandemic, QBE’s online professional development portal, Q Academy, was launched. Featuring expert speakers from inside QBE as well as external guests, Q Academy offers courses and training to build expertise in risk and leadership, and has a whole host of resources to support that learning. “Our company purpose is to give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions,” says Kosova. “We’re providing high-value courses and it’s generated tremendous feedback. As well as topics such as sustainability best practices, workers’ comp and manual handling risks, for example, we’ve also done sessions with people such as Lauren Parker, the professional triathlete who suffered a terrible training accident which left her a paraplegic, who talked about overcoming adversity, and the Sydney Swans CEO Tom Harley on personal branding and having an inclusive mindset.

Claims innovation

A workers’ compensation claim can be an incredibly challenging time for the claimant – and QBE has rebuilt its claims processes by combining empathy with innovation and analytics to deliver a claimant-centric experience which is powered by machine learning, artificial intelligence, behavioural insights and wearable devices.

Risk insights and expertise

Of course, while improving the claims process has significant merit, it’s far better for all concerned if incidents are reduced and prevented from happening in the first place, so QBE is harnessing the power of its claims data and working proactively with its customers and partners to deliver industry specific risk prevention insight and expertise.

Wearable tech

An initiative to help reduce the number of injuries in the workplace comes in the form of QBE’s partnership with wearable technology brand dorsaVI. The brand provides motion sensor technology that monitors postures, repetitive movements, sustained movements and muscle activity. The data gained enables unsafe work practices to be identified and risks flagged early before they result in injury.

“The whole idea is to prevent an incident happening in the first place,” says Kosova. “If we can do that we take a lot of inefficiency out of the system. If someone doesn’t go home injured they get to pick their kids up that night, they get to play sport on the weekend, they go to work the next day.”

Premiums4Good

Premiums4Good is an initiative that sees a portion of customer premiums channelled into investments that have additional social or environmental benefits – with the aim of having US$2bn of impact investments by 2025. Already this has helped a number of impact areas including sustainable energy, financial inclusion, social inclusion, diversity and gender and urban and community development.

“Customers can opt in to have 25 per cent of their premiums invested in social and environmental sustainability bonds,” explains Kosova. “It doesn’t cost them anything, and it genuinely does good.”

Co-designing bonds with customers

As well as the Premiums4Good environmental and sustainability bonds, QBE has also started externalising its investment expertise to help customers explore their own social impact bonds. The first cab off the rank is with government service delivery partner Serco, which is creating training and employment pathways for Indigenous adolescents.

“We’ve worked with them in a quasi-advisory capacity because the opportunity they have spotted is so powerful, their theory is if you can help Indigenous youth get their driver’s licence and they have access to a vehicle, they are more able to get to job interviews and stay in employment,” explains Kosova. “In combination with NSW Government, Serco is in the process of developing a social impact bond around this, which QBE through its Premium4Good’s program (and other sustainably minded investors) could choose to invest in.”

“It’s not about this warm and fuzzy stuff anymore, it’s about making a real impact and a real difference to our society. By partnering with QBE, we can achieve these ambitions together," he added.

The advice in this article is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice.

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