Why one insurance company 'gives a FIG' about giving back

Volunteering and philanthropy are deep in the heart of this specialty insurance firm's culture

Why one insurance company 'gives a FIG' about giving back

Non-Profits & Charities

By Gia Snape

In every organization, there are always individuals with a heart to help those less fortunate. But when that care and drive are already part of the company’s values, it makes sense to create an avenue to channel those efforts. For Falvey Insurance Group, that avenue is “We Give a FIG.”

“Volunteering and philanthropy have always been important to our employees, but our efforts weren’t very organized,” said Megan Bell (pictured), director of marketing at Falvey Insurance Group.

A few years ago, Bell came up with the tongue-in-cheek name for the initiative using Falvey Insurance Group’s initials, and it caught on. Employees dedicate volunteer hours and donate goods to local causes throughout the year, and Falvey’s leadership matches all donations.

“We Give a FIG” also came at a time of great need: the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, spearheaded by Bell’s co-chair Amanda Langlais, provided employees with a meaningful way to support frontline health workers. “2020 was the year we started formalizing. We formed the Rhode Island chapter of Frontline Foods, an effort to partner with local restaurants to make meals for frontline workers. We helped them collect donations, so our employees could safely participate from home,” Bell said. 

Falvey also supported Frontline Foods in 2020 by hosting a charity golf tournament and donating proceeds to the organization. In the past year, “We Give a FIG” shifted focus to support causes closely aligned with Falvey’s business. Falvey Insurance Group specializes in marine cargo, pollution, and shippers’ insurance.

Earlier this year, Falvey Shippers Insurance tied up with Haymakers for Hope, an organization giving people the opportunity to fight back – literally – against cancer. Haymakers for Hope helps individuals train for and compete in charity boxing events to raise funds for cancer research, care, and survivorship. Falvey Shippers’ vice president Jay Jeannotte entered the ring for the charity match, raising over $52,000 for cancer research.

Through “We Give a FIG”, subsidiaries of Falvey Insurance Group have participated in various philanthropy efforts. Their partners include Safe Harbor, which offers the largest spill response in the vessel pollution industry; The Mission to Seafarers, which supports seafarer welfare; and Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, which benefits the veteran community.

Local groups are also close to Falvey Insurance Group’s heart. The Rhode Island-based firm has pledged over $30,000 to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, a top pediatric care provider based in Providence. 

“The hospital recently made a lot of advancements in their behavioral and mental health facilities, and our donation supported that because mental health care is such a big need right now,” explained Bell. “We also sponsored and volunteered for their Heroes Ball, their annual fundraising gala. This year the hospital raised their highest amount, over $1 million.”

The team-up with Frontline Foods during the start of the pandemic had a “transformational impact” on the company. Bell said: “I think everyone felt connected because it was when people felt so helpless. You couldn’t go anywhere or do much, so it was a way for us all remotely make a difference.”

Inspiration to volunteer and give back during COVID-19 also came from Falvey’s top ranks. “Our C-suite was just so passionate about making sure that we had everything we needed to run this program,” Bell recalled.

“When we started to work from home, they said, ‘we’re all good, everybody’s safe, and everybody’s job is safe – so what can we do for others?’ I think that was such an amazing thing for our employees to hear. It made us all want to help and participate.”

Moving forward, Bell said “We Give a FIG” wants to focus on its charitable partnerships, forging new ties and strengthening existing ones. “We want to have stronger partnerships that we can remain active with throughout the year,” she said. 

Falvey’s efforts through “We Give a FIG” haven’t gone unnoticed. The group received several awards last year, including the Common Good Award from Rhode Island Monthly in partnership with the Rhode Island Foundation. “We Give a FIG” was also awarded Best of Show by the Insurance Marketing and Communications Association.

“These awards mean a lot because, as an employer nowadays, it’s difficult to speak to your culture without sounding like you’re just saying, ‘we’re wonderful!’ The fact that organizations choose to give back speaks a lot to their integrity,” said Bell. “It shows that we do genuinely care. We give a ‘FIG,’ and that’s something at the heart of our culture.”

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