IAG has released its Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) for the year ahead to help improve the economic security of Australians from Hobart all the way up to Darwin, and beyond. The FIAP program, led by Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand, focuses on efforts to improve financial inclusion and resilience.
Peter Harmer, IAG managing director and CEO, explained that the firm is excited to have committed to the plan.
“We’re proud to join the Financial Inclusion Action Plan program and work towards improving financial inclusion and the economic security of our customers, employees, suppliers and the community,” he said. It also closely aligns with IAG’s value of trying to make the world a safer place, he said.
“Our purpose inspires us to explore all the ways we can make our customers, our people and our communities safer - insurance plays a critical role in providing financial security and protection,” he outlined.
The plan includes actions to make its products and services more accessible. Additional support will be provided to customers that may be experiencing financial hardship or mental and physical disability. Employees will also receive training on how to identify and help customers experiencing vulnerability.
A notable commitment in IAG’s plan is to address structural and systemic barriers for those at risk of financial exclusion, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The indigenous engagement strategy will complement IAG’s Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which looks to provide employment and development opportunities as well as addressing social and economic challenges faced by the indigenous community. This includes supporting indigenous-run SMEs, as well as diversifying the supply chain. A pilot program was launched to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SMEs that included an awards program for five businesses to win a $5,000 grant to be used for professional development and a scheme to better understand the development needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SMEs and inform a longer-term proposition.
IAG will also look to diversify its supply chain, with a focus on female-owned, social enterprises and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned suppliers.
“Financial hardship can impact us all, at any stage in our lives,” said Stella Avramopoulos, Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand CEO. “We know that insurance plays a vital role in increasing financial wellbeing, but that barriers to accessing appropriate products and services can exist for those who are financially excluded.”