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Doing right by our global family

March 2024

Written by Jim Islam, Chief Executive Officer

As a mutual, OneFamily is part of a heritage of doing right by others that stretches back to the 18th century.

With foundations built on fairness and integrity, mutuals were the original crowd-funders, enabling working people to put money aside and build their financial resilience for when times were tough.

Mutuals are owned by and for the good of their members. People, rather than profit, are at the heart of their business since there’s no need to please shareholders.

Instead, we can invest our profits in developing products and services for our existing two million members as well as new members; supporting those who may be underserved by other providers.

"The scale of our impact means we are a positive influence in the communities that we serve – lifting-up the lives of those people who need it the most."

As a member of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) OneFamily is part of a global organisation that has a core philosophy of collaboration, solidarity and a belief that there is strength in working together.

It’s an association representing the interests of 206 cooperative and mutual insurers in 57 countries across the world.

ICMIF has been providing development support to its members in emerging markets for almost sixty years and in 2015 established its charitable organisation – The ICMIF Foundation. Its mission is to strengthen resilience against risks for low-income, vulnerable communities - seeking to empower them to be able to take care of their own protection needs.

So far it has reached over three million low-income households with insurance and resilience building efforts – providing a safety net to prevent the most vulnerable from slipping into extreme poverty.

So, I’m proud that OneFamily is going to be supporting the UNDP ICMIF Insurance Innovation Challenge (IIC) Fund. Its aim is to promote innovative mutual insurance schemes to better protect the most vulnerable in developing countries, with a particular focus on fighting rural poverty and increasing gender equality.

The goal is to help mutual and cooperative insurers to scale-up low cost, inclusive insurance products that will serve the needs of underserved households and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries.

"It means more stability and a potentially increased income for individuals and households, contributing to sustainable economic development in these countries."

There’s much for our team to learn from in working globally - reaching financially excluded communities isn’t an issue that’s unique to emerging markets.

We’ve seen how, here in the UK, there’s a need to serve the underserved, to inspire life chances and to grow financial well-being.

The safety nets that people once thought would break their fall are looking distinctly thread-bare and, as a mutual, we need to look at ways to build financial resilience for our members and those who we’ve yet to reach.

So, this project plays to our strengths and our mutual roots of putting people first. It’s about humanity and supporting others as they grow their resilience – irrespective of where they live.

It’s important to understand and respond to what’s happening in our own backyard, and we will continue to do this.

But we also need to recognise that inequality is a global problem and that we are part of that very same global community. We can’t close our eyes to what happens beyond our boundary fence.

Because we need to care for our neighbours too.

Jim Islam

Jim places great value on the importance of education, citing it as the foundation stone upon which social mobility can be built. As OneFamily’s CEO, he wants to hold out his hand of support to those who don’t know where to turn and to use his platform to lift people up and inspire them to fulfil their potential.

He encourages thinking big, having great aspirations and setting audacious goals to free potential. With education, encouragement and empowerment he thinks that any child can achieve their biggest and most colourful of dreams.

Jim was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of financial mutual, OneFamily, in December 2023.

OneFamily is the UK’s third largest mutual with over 2m customers.

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