As an insurance company, we are uniquely placed to help people in their times of need and our community initiatives mirror this role.
Community contribution channels
We have three main channels for community contribution and participation across our global business divisions:
- the QBE Foundation;
- natural disaster relief;
- sponsorship and events.
We also seek to positively impact communities through business initiatives such as Premiums4Good (see Responsible Investments section) and identifying opportunities through our procurement decisions (e.g. seeking to purchase from social enterprises).
The QBE Foundation
The QBE Foundation ensures our community-related activities are managed effectively and consistently, and in line with QBE’s purpose, strategy and investment criteria. Its vision is:
To help people overcome disadvantage, strengthen their abilities and live more independently, successfully and productively.
This vision is an extension of QBE’s purpose – to give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions.
The Foundation has three objectives:
- Make a difference in areas that are impacting our wider community and that align to QBE’s purpose, vision, strategy and values.
- Drive employee engagement by encouraging networking and a strong team-based culture.
- Maximise the return and impact of any collection, distribution and allocation of community investment resources.
The QBE Foundation is overseen by the Group Foundation Committee. Its role is to set the community investment strategy, monitor regional activity and maintain a long-term focus. The Committee reports to the Board Remuneration Committee.
Each division has a local QBE Foundation Committee, which works with local employees to engage with charities in their region.
The activities of the QBE Foundation fall into three categories: charity partnerships, employee grants and volunteering.
Each regional QBE Foundation Committee assesses applications against global eligibility criteria. These include the requirement that no more than 15% of any donation goes to administrative costs, to ensure our investment directly benefits the people and causes we wish to support. Our partners receive discretionary funding for a minimum of 12 months and a commitment that QBE will support them through events, fundraising, media advocacy and employee volunteering.
Large charity partners must provide funding impact reports so we can review the success and impact of the partnership.
In 2017, we partnered with 34 charities, many of which focus on supporting health and wellbeing, social welfare and diversity and inclusion.
The QBE Foundation provides employees with the opportunity to apply for matched funding of up to $5,000 a year for their personal fundraising initiatives. Employees may also apply for grants of up to $10,000 for an organisation or cause of their choice, subject to eligibility criteria and budget allocation.
The Kids’ Cancer Project is a national Australian charity dedicated to raising funds for childhood cancer research and supporting the families of children with cancer. The QBE Foundation has worked with this charity since 2013 and it has been an official QBE regional charity partner since 2015.
In October 2017, the QBE Foundation won the Leadership in Corporate Giving award at Research Australia’s Health and Medical Research Awards. The award recognised the Foundation as a leader in giving to and supporting medical research and acknowledged our partnership with The Kids’ Cancer Project.
Grants and donations
Everyone at QBE is encouraged to give back to their local community by using a designated volunteer day to support a cause they are passionate about. Volunteer opportunities are managed through the QBE Foundation and employees can volunteer as individuals and with colleagues.
Employee feedback tells us that volunteering provides personal development opportunities, increases collaboration and teamwork, leads to greater employee satisfaction and generates a sense of pride and connection to QBE and the community.
Natural disaster relief
As an insurer, we are one of the first ports of call for our customers when they are affected by a disaster. We aim to respond quickly, to be caring, and to deliver on our commitment to customers.
We expand on this role by directly supporting disaster relief through:
- financial donations;
- providing aid e.g. water, food, medicines, toiletries, equipment; volunteer support.
Supporting sports and the arts
As well as QBE Foundation activities, our regional businesses sponsor opportunities for communities to come together through sport and the arts while helping QBE to build customer relationships and our brand profile.
These sponsorships connect us with local stakeholders and communities and highlight values such as teamwork, commitment, tenacity, leadership and diversity. Through our arts sponsorships, we celebrate diversity, culture and talent.
Encouraging diversity in sport
QBE Australia has been Principal Partner of the Sydney Swans for 31 years. We also support the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, which provides elite talent development programs for boys aged 11–19 years. In 2017, we became supporters of the Academy’s new Youth Girls program, which is providing talent pathways for young female footballers.
We also got behind the Swans’ first Diversity Action Plan. This followed the club’s important work through their Reconciliation Action Plan, which is strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through education and opportunities.
The club’s Diversity Action Plan makes meaningful commitments to disability empowerment, multicultural inclusion, the advancement of women and LGBTIQ pride. Like QBE, the Swans joined Australia’s Marriage Equality campaign in 2017, and we once again supported the annual Pride Game, which promotes diversity and inclusion.
Supporting our communities
Promoting health and wellbeing
Supporting the health and wellbeing of our people and their communities is a priority for us. Each year, the QBE Foundation partners with charities that strive to improve medical research, treatment and support for health concerns such as cancer, diabetes, rare genetic conditions, birth defects, mental health and physical disability.
Our support includes formal charity partnerships, grants, events participation, volunteering, awareness-raising events and fundraising.
North American Operations
In 2017, the QBE Foundation held an awareness campaign and discussion on the topic of living with cancer, early detection and treatment. A large grant was made to the American Cancer Society's National Patient Service Center, which handles program coordination for patient services across the US. The Foundation also supports the Manhattan Hope Lodge in New York City, which provides shelter and care for people undergoing cancer treatment.
Australian & New Zealand Operations
The QBE Foundation has partnered with the McGrath Foundation since 2015 to sponsor a specialist McGrath Breast Care Nurse for the Western Sydney community. Our funding ensures that Vicki Bell, the 'McGrath QBE Breast Care Nurse', provides support for patients and their families during challenging times. Vicki has more than 30 years nursing experience and helps patients adjust to their breast cancer diagnosis by providing clinical care and psychosocial support.
Breast cancer resonates strongly with our employees as a health issue. In our European Operations, which include Canada and the United Arab Emirates, the QBE Foundation worked with employees during 2017 to support charity partner Breast Cancer Care, which provides information, practical assistance and emotional support for anyone affected by breast cancer. Our employees provided support through a wide range of fundraising activities, including social events, collections, office challenges, raffles, auctions, sponsored walks and bake sales. Over two years, over $370,000 was raised, well surpassing our original aim to raise $257,000 by the end of 2017.
Asia Pacific Operations
The QBE Foundation has partnered with Smile Train, an international organisation providing corrective surgery and comprehensive care for children and adults with orofacial clefts. Over six weeks, life changing surgeries were performed for a total of 90 children and adults in Metro Manila and Central Visayas. Comprehensive care and learning development were also given to the beneficiaries after their surgery. They undergo speech therapy with professional pathologist and social learning sessions. These efforts will help them prepare for their reintegration to the community and enjoy a new life.
Supporting communities after natural disasters
Our global communities were impacted by several natural disasters in 2017, including: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria across the Americas; mudslides in Colombia; and Tropical Cyclone Debbie in Australia.
Across our regions, we provided emergency assistance through donations, fundraising and matched funding. We also provided direct help through:
- on-the-ground catastrophe teams;
- volunteers providing specialist expertise;
- deploying specialist technology such as drones so we could keep customers informed;
- organising and delivering essential aid relief;
- engaging clients in the relief effort;
- spending face-to-face time with affected policyholders.
Making a difference to young people
By supporting education and welfare initiatives, QBE is improving the lives and prospects of thousands of young people around the world. We are involved in a broad range of initiatives.
North American Operations
QBE supports Covenant House’s Rights of Passage program, a transitional living program for at-risk children. Through One Sandwich at a Time (hosted by our Major Trading Partner, AON), our volunteers have assembled, bagged and boxed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for homeless LGBTI young people at New York City shelters.
Asia Pacific Operations
In 2017, the QBE Foundation (Philippines) supported several education programs that provide alternative learning solutions for out-of-school youths and street children. More than 350 students have benefited. The Singapore executive team participated in a five-day house‑building project in Surabaya, Indonesia, where they built a house for people in need.
Latin American Operations
The QBE Foundation in Latin America supports organisations that provide youth and disadvantaged children with learning and development services and the skills to become job ready. The QBE Foundation provided funding to Caminitos de Luz (Ecuador), which offers quality education to children with low economic resources. We also supported Junior Achievement (Argentina) which uses practical and combined learning in financial education, preparation for work and entrepreneurship to empower young people to grow their ideas and improve their work skills.
The QBE Foundation has partnered with the Balia Foundation since 2012 on a range of funding initiatives that help children and young people who are at risk of social exclusion in Madrid. Our funding supports activities that aim to prevent early school leaving, reduce the likelihood of addiction and violence, and improve personal and social skills. Colleagues from our Spanish office are also involved in the Balia corporate volunteering program for the Young District Project.
Enhancing diversity and inclusion
As part of our commitment to encouraging diversity and inclusion, QBE supports community initiatives that promote acceptance and opportunity for vulnerable and under-represented groups. Our support includes mentoring, awareness-raising and sporting initiatives.
Australian & New Zealand Operations
In September 2017, QBE embarked on a two‑year partnership with the Women’s Justice Network’s Youth Mentoring Program in Australia. This provides life-changing support to 30 young, vulnerable women who are at risk of entering the criminal justice system. In addition to this funding, our Procurement team raised $30,000 at a supplier Trivia night to help replace the charity’s ageing vehicle and support mentoring opportunities. For the second year, we renewed our partnership with The Pinnacle Foundation which supports LGBTI students. QBE Foundation enabled four at-risk students to continue their undergraduate studies through Pinnacle’s mentoring program.
North American Operations
In North America, our people, supported by the QBE Foundation, have a focus on supporting military veterans. Since 2011, the QBE Foundation has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project, providing monetary grants, awareness campaign advocacy, employee volunteering and fundraising efforts. Through Warriors at Work, unemployed and wounded veterans gain access to employment and regain their independence. We have also assisted the Warrior Care Network, which provides access to support and services, veterans living with moderate to severe post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. Our employees have also been involved in awareness campaigns such as the Soldier Ride in New York, Atlanta and Chicago, a unique four-day cycling event that helps warriors gain confidence and experience the heartfelt appreciation and support of communities around the country.
Since 2015, the QBE Foundation has worked with the Change Foundation to fund the development of blind rugby. Blind rugby is adapted from the Rugby 7s touch format and is safe and accessible for people with visual impairment. Formerly targeted at adults, a new program for young people aged 12–16 years was launched in 2017. In line with our sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand, QBE also supported the first international series of blind rugby, supporting players from London to play demonstration matches against a blind and visually impacted New Zealand team at QBE Stadium in Auckland.