Altruism, not return on investment, is the main reason agencies start a philanthropy program, but a majority of agents also reported that their contributions brought in new business.
Independent insurance agents are deeply committed to their communities—a fact the independent agency channel already knew, and one that was confirmed this week. According to a report published this week by Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance in partnership with the Big “I," an overwhelming 96% of independent agents donate to charity, compared to 75% of all small businesses according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
With 92% of agencies donating their time and 94% giving money, hands-on involvement is considered nearly as important as financial support, the report found. And they're not stopping anytime soon, with 65% of agencies intending to volunteer the same amount of time in the coming year. Also, 29% are planning to volunteer even more in the coming year.
Agency size is one of the biggest factors in how agencies give back. Small agencies are more likely to volunteer their time than larger agencies, while more than half of agencies with more than $1.25 million in annual revenue donate at least $10,000 annually.
Nearly three-quarters of agencies volunteer as a team, the report found. Additionally, 2 in 3 agencies offer paid time off to their employees to volunteer and more than 1 in 3 even invite their clients to get involved with their volunteer work.
“No other group gives back to their local communities like independent agents do," says Tyler Asher, president of independent agent distribution at Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance. “They step up in times of need—volunteering time, donating financially and using their platforms to advocate for important causes. At Liberty Mutual and Safeco, we are committed to supporting independent agents in their charitable giving efforts and are proud to partner with the Big “I" to shine a light on the incredible ways they give back."
Altruism, not return on investment, is the main reason agencies start a philanthropy program, but a majority of agents also reported that their contributions brought in new business. For instance, more than half said their charitable giving has increased referrals to their agency. A company's charitable giving affected 73% of Americans' purchase decisions in a 2018 Mintel study.
Community involvement can also have a positive impact on attracting the next generation of talent, with 62% of Generation Z candidates looking for a company whose values match their own and 61% looking for a company with a purpose beyond merely making a profit, according to Zety.
“We share a belief with Liberty and Safeco that trust is our most valuable currency in the insurance industry. And that you can't simply ask for your community's trust, you have to earn it," says Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I" president & CEO. “We're humbled by how independent agents show time and again that their communities can trust them to pitch in where it's needed most."
AnneMarie McPherson Spears is IA news editor.