Why Aviva won best embodiment of corporate purpose

Updated: Feb 3

When Aviva launched its new corporate purpose With you today for a better tomorrow in late 2019, it had no inkling that just months later that mantra would take on a new and special resonance as the insurance group sought to speedily support its customers, colleagues and communities during the pandemic.

When it came to customers, the priority was to maintain critical services but also to go above and beyond. For those motor insurance customers who work in the NHS, Aviva offered complimentary extras such as additional cover for breakdown and free courtesy cars if their vehicles were involved in accidents as well as priority repair services to ensure they were able to carry on working.

NHS workers with home contents insurance saw their policies enhanced if their belongings were damaged, stolen or lost while they were at work or commuting there. The insurance group also made clear that customers with a motor policy who were volunteering, either to support those impacted by Covid-19 or to distribute food parcels, say, would be covered while they undertook unpaid activities.

Aviva also contacted pension customers within two years of retiring to offer support to help them safeguard their life savings. Similarly, it offered support to vulnerable customers experiencing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19, allowing them to defer monthly premium payments or to defer them over the term of their policy.

For colleagues, the new purpose served as a galvanising force for support. All Aviva UK staff remained on full pay regardless of their circumstances, which meant that around 750 contracted support staff, such as caterers and security, have continued to be paid as normal even though their services were not required. Nobody was furloughed.

Similar care was given to those working from home. Flexible working patterns were established across every department, and a raft of supportive measures, such as resilience webinars, free streamed exercise and fitness classes and fitness challenges to keep people connected and active. Leadership was also more visible, connecting with colleagues via virtual coffee chats and a new weekly radio show, when anybody could ask a question live on air.

The insurance group also offered employees who used to work in a clinical role in the NHS, Forces Reserves or fully trained Red Cross volunteers the option to return on secondment, while maintaining their full Aviva salary.

An employee survey revealed that 86 per cent felt their health and wellbeing were sufficiently supported by Aviva, while 78 per cent felt able to maintain a work life balance.

The workforce also recorded more than 6,000 volunteering hours.

When it came to helping the communities in which it operates, Aviva also made substantial contributions. It donated an additional £10 million to its long-standing partner the British Red Cross – one of the largest corporate donations ever received by the charity – to fund Covid-19 community projects, including a Hardship Fund, which has supported more than 30,000 people without access to income, savings or financial support and provided them with a safety net from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

The insurance company launched its purpose with words, but it believes that Covid-19 turned these into action. By supporting people when they needed it most, Aviva continues to help create a better tomorrow.

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