Being socially responsible requires commitment

As the leading insurance company in the Nordic region, at If Insurance we fulfil an important function in the everyday lives of our 3.6 million customers. Insurance policies are intended to help individuals and companies to reduce their risk and to protect against unexpected financial losses.

 Whether it is a matter of building a house, running a business or protecting one’s health, insurance policies provide increased security to the individual, the company and society in general. Our responsibility thereby also includes contributing to a safer community and an environment that is sustainable in the long term. 

Actively contributing to a safer community

As part of our general work in social responsibility, we work for a safer society by preventing accidents, illness and by sharing information. Insurers undoubtedly contribute to, and help to enable increased freedom of action, and are therefore an important cornerstone of a well-functioning society.

 “We are actively involved in community issues that have a natural link to If’s business. We have a comprehensive programme for supporting safety initiatives in the communities within which we operate. The objective is, in the long term, to counteract negative social phenomena such as traffic accidents, physical and mental illness, as well as health problems caused by pollution.

We are also working actively to assist our clients personally to prevent accidents, incidences of injury and long-term sick leave due to illness. For example, we’re working together with the Heart-lung fund in Sweden for more heart-safe neighbourhoods, and Overvinne, primarily in Norway, supporting our customers with health insurance in relation to mental health and work environment-related issues,” says Kristina Ström Olsson, Nordic Health Strategist at If.

If Insurance is committed to the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). We work to contribute to individuals as well as businesses and society. “As an insurer, we have a role to play on issues relating to inclusion, diversity, equality, health and wellbeing - as well as a healthy environmental perspective,” notes Ström Olsson. If Insurance has also incorporated sustainability into the company’s underwriting. Corporate clients who don’t respect human rights, labour rights, environment and anti-corruption, will be asked to level up - or find another insurer.”

Why is social responsibility important?

Few companies can afford to ignore their environmental and social impact. It is important to understand the true cost of not being socially sustainable. “For example, by disregarding the needs of employees or by ignoring the issues that exist in the local community in which a company operates, companies can meet difficulties.” 

Ström Olsson continues, “Whether we talk about disregarding  employee needs e.g. the impact of employee sick leave, or being involved in environmentally unfriendly activities, it will have an impact not only on a company’s reputation but ultimately also on its license to operate.

Furthermore, all these factors affect how the world will see your company, from stakeholders including investors to customers, as well as authorities, competitors and others. In the end, an ineffective organisation will incur costs, miss project possibilities and run greater risks than those who make environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors a priority in their daily operations.” 

Authenticity and commitment

In addition, attracting talent to your company, and keeping talented people in your company, is about authenticity and commitment. “Although factors such as having a good salary, health insurance and wellness benefits are important, we know that other issues make a difference for people when they choose to work for a company.

Today, many employees expect their employer to take corporate social responsibility seriously. This includes company values, psychological safety, opportunities for remote work, as well as preventive health & wellbeing services, to name a few examples of what factors will make the difference for your employee or a potential candidate looking to join your company.

“It’s also a matter of the employer, and the employees’ responsibility in creating a work environment that thrives in a healthy manner, for example by reducing the risk of accidents and health issues, including mental health risks. By supporting initiatives and activities that aid prevention, even in our work to support a positive environmental impact, we can make a difference.

In the Nordic countries, this is also a matter of social cohesion and quality of life. Insurers have an important role in this regard through risk management and loss prevention work, but also as an enabler for individuals, companies and society to function and operate,” concludes Ström Olsson. 

Written by

Kristian Orispää