Building resilient and sustainable communities is at the heart of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) program of leading nonlife insurer AIG Philippines. It reflects the firm’s commitment in making a positive difference in the communities where both its employees and customers live and work.
“The Philippines is among the world’s most disaster-prone countries, and hence, AIG wants to be involved in and promote initiatives related to disaster relief, disaster preparedness, business resiliency, and business continuity. The central theme in our various CSR activities is to ultimately advocate for (the) resiliency (of) individuals and communities,” said Mark Lwin, president and CEO of AIG Philippines Insurance Inc., who heads the firm’s CSR efforts in the Philippines.
In times of disasters, for example, AIG raised awareness among its employees and started an employee-matching grant program, whereby the company would match employee donations (two to one) with a minimum donation of $25 of equivalent per employee.
In the aftermath of the devastation wreaked by Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, the team was able to raise $360,000 (approximately P16 million) for Habitat for Humanity that was used for rebuilding efforts for those displaced by the disaster. As a result of that donation, families in a village in Ormoc City, Leyte province, now have 63 newly built houses because of the partnership between AIG and Habitat for Humanity Philippines.
During the handover ceremony at Barangay Margen, Lwin said “AIG’s role as an insurance company is not just to provide financial assistance. What brings us to work every day is our passion for being an advocate of safer communities, by protecting the community in which we operate. The same applies to our philanthropic initiatives.”
Promoting a culture of volunteerism
The participation of employees in CSR activities are highly encouraged, particularly in initiatives that embody the company’s three philanthropic themes: safety, security, and disaster relief. In fact, AIG employees are given two days of paid time off each year so that they can use the time to get involved in community work and give back.
“Our company can only be as successful as the communities in which we do business,” said Lawie Valles, head of portfolio management of AIG Shared Services and concurrent lead of the IcSRV Committee. He added that AIG Philippines’ 4,500-strong employee base has been implementing advocacy activities for more than a decade now.
IcSRV is a play on words that stands for “I’m a CSR Volunteer—I Serve,” which is targeted at instilling an organizational-wide culture of volunteerism.
Three AIG entities in the Philippines—AIG Shared Services-Business Processing Inc., AIG Shared Services Technology Services Inc., and AIG Philippines Insurance Inc.—have also partnered with Junior Achievement (JA), a non-governmental organization that supports financial education and workforce readiness.
Since 2015, AIG has donated $7,500 to JA Philippines to help fund programs that teach financial literacy to Filipino students. The amount covered 12 classes in five public schools, benefiting about 300 Grade 1 students and 200 Grade 6 students. Dubbed “JA Ourselves,” the four-hour program used a storytelling approach to increase the students’ understanding of personal economics, with an emphasis on savings. The partnership with JA also provided opportunity for volunteer engagement work among AIG employees.
AIG supports a number of citizenship programs and charitable partnerships worldwide that rely on the skills, experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm of its employees. It is through the employees’ unwavering support in volunteering in CSR activities that makes the strategic partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and JA a success.
“We make long-term commitments with the charitable organizations that we partner with,” Lwin said. “This is to ensure there is sustainability in the projects that we support. We want our CSR efforts to reflect our business objectives in promoting insurance in the Philippines, and ultimately contribute in building resilient Filipino communities.”