IICF's Week of Giving: Insurance gives back to communities in need

IICF's Week of Giving: Insurance gives back to communities in need | Insurance Business America

IICF's Week of Giving: Insurance gives back to communities in need

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) has wrapped up its annual Week of Giving, the largest ongoing volunteer initiative in the insurance industry. Between October 8 and 15, volunteer groups across the United States and the United Kingdom mobilized to help their local communities through service and charitable works.

Some of the Week of Giving highlights in the US included:

Credit: LinkedIn/Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

  • More than 200 volunteers trooped to the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery in Texas to clean thousands of headstones, a gesture to honor fallen soldiers and their families. The IICF also presented a grant award of $2,500 for families in need.

Credit: LinkedIn/Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation

  • 50 volunteers, including members from Chubb and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, held creative literary activities with preschool children at the IICF Early Literacy Fair. The event supports the IICF’s non-profit partner Breakthrough Beginners in Chicago.
  • Volunteers in Colorado prepared more than 850 meal bags with Project Angel Heart to help people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and kidney, heart, and lunch lung diseases.
  • A Kansas City group comprising employees from Amwins, Applied Systems, Virtus and Lockton Companies put together hygiene kits for distribution to police departments, schools, nursing homes, and shelters.

This year, though in-person gatherings have made a comeback, the IICF also kept the spotlight on ways insurance professionals could give back virtually.

“Over the last couple of years, we pivoted to offer more remote or virtual opportunities to give back, versus just pausing all our initiatives during COVID. Those initiatives continued during the Week of Giving,” said Amie Meschi, Georgia chapter volunteer leader. Meschi is executive vice president and property broker at Peachtree Special Risk Brokers in Atlanta, Georgia, a subsidiary of Brown & Brown.

“Even during the pandemic, people wanted a way to give back. The virtual opportunities provided the ability to engage at home, and encouraged families to participate as well,” Meschi added.

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The IICF aims to harness to collective strengths of the insurance community towards charitable giving by providing resources to professionals for volunteer and philanthropy work. The IICF supports a wide variety of causes such as food and housing insecurity, education, children at risk, disaster preparedness, and veteran support.

To date, the organization has logged more than $42 million in community grants and over 300,000 volunteer hours from more than 110,000 industry professionals. Thousands of insurance industry professionals join IICF’s events every year. The opportunities range from community and beach clean-ups to food and clothing drives, career-building workshops, and more.

For Meschi, initiatives like the Week of Giving are about creating camaraderie among insurance companies and showing a united front as an industry. “The more we come together as a united group, the bigger impact we’re going to have, not only in the US but internationally as well,” she said. “I think that’s extremely important, not only in times when the economy is thriving, but also during times like the pandemic. It gives a bigger, broader perspective on what the industry can do.”

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Ben Nichols, IICF’s Georgia chapter volunteer chair, agreed: “As leaders in the insurance industry, we can use our influence and our relationships to give back to the community. Insurance is a relationship business and being able to leverage our relationships to raise money, give back, and engage each other is meaningful. It moves the needle.”

Nichols is a regional vice president for Amerisure Insurance, a Michigan-based property/casualty carrier. This year, Amerisure’s Atlanta office is partnering with non-profit StreetWise and the Atlanta Food Bank in Georgia to pack food boxes for low-income community members next month.

“It’s really a year-round [effort]. We honor the Week of Giving in mid-October, but these efforts continue for the rest of the year,” said Nichols. “At Amerisure, we have built a culture of giving back amongst our employees.”

Meschi also underscored the importance of buoying the community spirit of giving all year long. “Through my involvement with IICF, I’ve seen so many vulnerabilities that I was not aware existed in our communities. Seeing the amount of food insecurity and need in your own backyard is very motivating, and keeps you inspired to be involved,” she told Insurance Business.

“It is a week of giving, but you have the opportunity to volunteer with organizations that IICF supports throughout the year as well.”