Charity matters

Why charity matters all together better

There is no doubt that 2020 has, for most, been the most challenging year we have experienced for decades. The way we work has changed, probably in parts forever, and the massive impacts of the change forced upon us continue to reverberate, making many of us more insular as we concentrate on keeping our families, friends and colleagues as safe as possible. These circumstances have also had a profound effect on our tendency to give, though, and at a time when charities have never needed us more, the route to raising much needed funds is also harder.

Our Executive Chair, Tim Ryan, has written much on philanthropy in business and the important role and effect it has on us as individuals and businesses. In his most recent article on the subject, he highlighted the incredible community spirit that we experienced during the first lockdown of 2020, when many of our members’ teams were involved in volunteering, donating and raising money to support our country’s key workers and charities.

From rewarding ourselves with happy hormones, through to reducing stress levels, the act of giving offers many personal benefits – and it offers business benefits, too.

Community value

As a business, the actions we take are analysed and reviewed by our customers during their buying process. Being seen as an empathetic and caring organisation can be the differentiator needed to bring in a sale. In this way, while it’s important not to give just for the PR, it’s also important to make sure your community knows you have given. 

Employee engagement

Millennials are pretty much the largest demographic in work around the world, making up around 50% of the workforce. Millennials are career driven – they want more than just a job. So, they pay attention to what their employers stand for. Millennials are also philanthropic, with 84% giving to charity. 

Attracting talent

Just as communities and our customers appreciate a philanthropic approach, so the people you may wish to attract to work within your business, and your existing workforce, will feel more affinity for your company if it is seen as a giving business. 

Tax benefits

While giving to charity should not be motivated by tax reductions, when a limited company gives to charity it will be able to claim tax relief by deducting the value of the donations from the total business profits before tax is paid. For sole traders and partnerships, the rules are different and tax relief here is claimed by the individual, rather than the business. 

Personal feel good

As we learned from ZavFit at our UNA Conference on 12th November 2020, understanding what makes us feel good will have a profound impact on our day to day productivity. As individuals, when making charitable donations our bodies create a surge of dopamine and endorphins, making us feel happy.  The act of giving can lead to health benefits, too. In his book ‘Why Good Things Happen to Good People’, Stephen Prost says donating has been shown to increase health benefits in people with chronic illnesses. Donating may also improve physical health and bring longer life, as it can help reduce stress, too. 

At UNA, we focus on working together to bring better benefits for our broker community, as well as our customers all around the UK. So, while during our virtual conference we were unable to run our usual charity raffle, we did set up JustGiving pages to raise money for two charities that are very close to our hearts, and who are in need right now. 

Supporting Samaritans

This pandemic is the biggest challenge Samaritans has ever faced. Before Coronavirus hit, 20,000 Samaritans volunteers were answering a call for help every six seconds. This could be someone you know, family or friends in urgent need but unable to talk to anyone in the middle of the night. 

Now, the need for someone at the end of the line - 24/7, 365 - is more important than ever. Samaritans' helpline is feeling the pressure. They're likely to experience more people struggling to cope or in crisis and they may have less volunteers to help answer calls for help.  

So, we chose to support Samaritans Emergency Appeal to help them reach those who are struggling to cope. It will help Samaritans recruit more volunteers and work faster on different ways to be there. Apt, perhaps, that our conference was on World Kindness Day. Together. we can help change the life of someone who desperately needs them. 

Macmillan Cancer Support

We lost our friend and colleague, Andy Jenkins, in August 2020 and we have chosen to support Macmillan Cancer Support in his memory. This amazing organisation helps people with cancer, and their families, all around the UK, to live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial and emotional support. 

Visit our JustGiving page to learn more about our Annual Conference 2020 fundraising. All together better.

UNA Conference 2020

Organising a virtual conference a learning experience

It’s nearly time for the UNA Alliance annual conference and, this year, we’re focusing on ‘Rising Up’ to the challenges that lay ahead of us all as we make our way into (hopefully sooner rather than later!) a post-pandemic future.

This year’s conference takes place on Thursday 12th November and we’re looking forward to welcoming several hundred delegates, from across our membership, as well as our partners.

Had someone told us this time last year, while we were enjoying a packed ‘back to the future’ agenda and already looking forward to seeing each other again at this year’s conference, no one could have foreseen the very different circumstances we’d all find ourselves in now. With all of the additional planning and management needed to implement social distancing, and many other events having been cancelled this year, postponing our own conference could have been an easy option. But, at UNA Alliance, we love to get our members together. Planning a conference during social distancing restrictions, which have now turned into a full lockdown, has not been easy. So what have we learned that we can share with the wider world?

Live in person or virtual - theme is still king

With life for many busier than ever, asking people to take time out of their schedules to attend a conference requires content that will be have a real application and immediate use in their day to day life. This year, we’ve called upon UNA Alliance members, Tysers, to present on ‘Brexit – the way forward’, giving us all an insight into the preparations needed ahead of 31 December 2020, and reassuring us that we’re in a strong position going forward. And Anna Freeman and Greg Searle from ZavFit will introduce us to a new approach to money fitness – helping us to improve our mental wellbeing by improving our attitude to finance. We’ve sandwiched two speed dating sessions in between these two inspiring presentations, helping us all to stay in touch and make the most of our UNA Alliance together.

Planning the platform

We’re not going to lie…finding the right platform on which to run our conference wasn’t easy! We reviewed countless solutions, from top end off the shelf options through to bespoke opportunities. Our platform needed several different functions, including the ability to host live presentations for all our members and partners at the same time, as well as ‘break out rooms’ for our speed dating.

Some of the options we reviewed were unviable for budget reasons, while others simply did not deliver the functionality we needed. Working out what you want to achieve from your event, and what content you need to share, will help you to select the most appropriate platform for your event.

Working out the format

Obviously a normal, face to face conference includes activities with multiple formats. Planning that in a virtual conference is not so simple. Keeping content short is essential for a virtual event so, while we had many plans for our sessions this year, we pared it back to ensure we could keep it engaging for everyone online, too.

One of the elements we’ll really miss is, of course, our dinner event. This will, of course, need to wait until we can all be together in person, but we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to support our communities so, in lieu of our usual ‘on the night’ charity raffle and auction, we’ve set up JustGiving pages to allow people, if they’re able and would like to do so, to donate to two very worthy causes: Macmillan Cancer – in memory of our dear friend, Andy Jenkins – and the Samaritans, helping them to continue their work supporting the wellbeing of people across the UK during difficult times.

 We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our delegates to our virtual event, and we will, of course, be sharing learnings from our conference in the weeks to come. As with any event, measuring success is key, and we’ll also share what went well, and what we’ve learned could be done differently, as well. Watch this space!

Rise up to a changing culture around money introducing ZavFit for UNA V Conference 2020

To people outside of the arena (and to a few within, we have no doubt!), insurance industry conferences may well sound a little boring. At UNA Alliance, our members and partners know that that’s not the case and, as well as topical sessions and information, we always like to bring in speakers who will present something that can make a real difference, not only to our members as businesses, but also as individuals. So, we’re delighted this year to be introducing ZavFit.

Did you know that worrying about money is one of the leading causes of anxiety and mental health issues? Now, more than ever, being financially fit is something everyone is mindful of. And, while incredibly important, being financially fit doesn’t just mean that there’s enough money coming in to pay the bills, to contribute to pension pots or to save for a rainy day. How our money makes us feel is equally important.

ZavFit is a new HealthTech start-up working with the aim to help people improve their health and happiness. Rather than being a savings plan or budgeting tool, though, ZavFit is focused on helping people to feel less stressed and more happy about their money and finances.

At our 2020 Conference, ZavFit founder, Anna Freeman, and Olympic Gold Medallist (yes, we do always like to bring a celebrity into the mix!), Greg Searle, will talk with us on this interesting and incredibly timely topic, introducing a new wellbeing concept – MoneyFitness. MoneyFitness is about understanding yourself better and what makes you feel happier and healthier. Spending in line with those things can contribute most to your health and happiness. 

At UNA Alliance we’re all looking forward to this interactive session and we’ll be taking notes to share more, including some industry specific insight, in the coming weeks.


UNA Unveils New Member

UNA, the leading Independent Broker Alliance, is delighted to announce a new addition to its ranks: James Hallam Insurance Brokers.

UNA Executive Director, Tim Ryan commented:-

“We’re proud to welcome James Hallam on board as new Members to UNA.  They are an extremely well respected firm and come with an established reputation and strong market presence.  They will sit well around our table and strengthen our Membership during these unprecedented times.”

Paul Anscombe, Chief Executive at James Hallam commented:- 

“We have always regarded our independence as a strength of this business so joining UNA, an alliance of like minded independent brokers can only make us stronger.  We look forward to growing together.”

Mr Ryan also commented:-

“..It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year.  With Covid and hardening market conditions, the market place is as demanding as it ever has been.  We believe that by standing together as one, the Alliance is in a very strong position to navigate this storm together, for the benefit of our Members, clients and Partners..”   


UNA Wins Again

UNA is delighted to announce that for the second year running, it has won the prestigious Broker Network of the Year award at the recent Broker Innovation Awards.

It's a magnificent achievement and true reflection of the professionalism of all involved, especially during these testing Covid Days.

Well done to all our wonderful Members for all your support.

#alltogetherbetter #independentbrokeralliance