Gallagher Bassett's eBook to comfort families in lockdown

Gallagher Bassett's eBook to comfort families in lockdown | Insurance Business

Gallagher Bassett

In times of crisis, the insurance industry is there to support us through to the other side. That’s why third party insurance claims administrator Gallagher Bassett (GB) has launched an eBook as part of their ‘Gentle Bear’ program which serves to explain the changes that kids may experience with their parents and guardians working from home.

The Gentle Bear program launched in 2007 and initially provided teddy bears to frontline emergency workers, such as firefighters, flying doctors and police officers, who dealt with children in distress. However, in light of the pandemic, Andrew Spilsbury (pictured above), global vice president of brand strategy, management & growth at Gallagher Bassett (GB), says the company was driven to provide further support to parents and children during lockdown.

“In light of the COVID-19 situation we’ve written and launched the Gentle Bear’s Big Hibernation, which is designed to help parents talk to their kids about quarantine and working from home,” Spilsbury said.

“GB’s Gentle Bear program serves as a compassionate bridge between the insurance industry and the vulnerable people that our clients serve. It provides a way to emotionally connect the work that we do with the market and the community. Gentle Bear has been our symbol of caring and charity for over 10 years now,” added Nadia Forlani, national tender manager (pictured below).

The program, which was designed with advice from child psychologists, includes a digital storybook that helps explain to children the changes to life at home during quarantine.

“Gentle Bear is normally something that is given out when kids need a hug and that kind of thing. So, we’ve been looking to work out ‘what does Gentle Bear look like in a quarantine, social distancing environment?’ What we came up with was the Gentle Bear’s big hibernation storybook,” Spilsbury explained.

“It’s a storybook we’ve given out to clients and employers around Australia to use with their staff who are working from home. It’s a short story about Gentle Bear going into quarantine or hibernation and his aunt - or his parental figure - is working from the cave, so he helps her adjust to working from home.”

The ultimate goal behind the Gentle Bear program, Forlani says, is to provide a “socially conscious connection between the community and GB.”

“His role adapts to meet contemporary challenges while promoting our company’s mission to guide, guard and go beyond for our clients with strength and compassion,” she said.

The digital book helps create a conversation with a child about working from home and what quarantine means. It also helps establish boundaries during work hours, such as when the parent may not be accessible to the child. 

Spilsbury also believes the digital storybook is a particularly useful resource because one of the greatest stressors for parents who work remotely is having to juggle their workload with looking after young children.

“A big challenge for remote workers, particularly when they’re in school lockdowns and things like that, is just having kids at home and having to work at the same time,” he said.

“The book provides a guided, child-friendly, easy to understand way of having a conversation about boundaries while working from home. So, it talks about boundaries and spaces in the house… that a parent might not be available and activities that a kid can do while their parent isn’t available.”

It’s an important move for the insurance sector because it highlights the industry’s quick efforts to provide support and relief to their clients during crisis situations. Spilsbury says the industry was built on providing support during times of great distress.

“I think the foundation of the insurance and broking industry is helping clients in situations where they’re faced with some kind of disruption to normal life or crisis type event. Often that’s providing insurance against that or providing claims management to support them after that incident occurs,” Spilsbury explained.

“But I think on the whole the insurance and broking industry is there to help people through crisis situations and particularly in the workers’ compensation industry - working from home is creating new challenges for employers to manage their workforce. So, this is one of many tools we’re providing to employers to help their staff to make the transition and make this period a little bit easier.”

And it’s been well received – Spilsbury says the feedback suggests the digital playbook has been a “fun” and “light” way to communicate difficult situations to young children who may not otherwise understand the circumstances.

“[The feedback’s] been really fantastic. The overarching comment we’ve received is it’s just something that’s different, it’s light and fun compared to some of the other resources that are coming out at the moment,” he said.

“We got a really lovely email yesterday from one of our clients who had read the book with her grandchild and that had prompted a really positive conversation between them about working from home… it’s just one little thing the industry’s doing to make the world a little bit more cheerful.”