Section 172 Statement

Section 172 Statement
This section of the Strategic Report describes how the directors have had regard to the matters set out in section 172(1) (a) to (f), and forms the directors’ statement required under section 414CZA, of the Companies Act 2006.
The Directors recognise that the long-term success of the Company is dependent on having regard to the interests of its stakeholders. The Board has identified and documented its stakeholders in the Company’s Governance Framework and Board Charter. Key stakeholders include its shareholder, employees, customers and clients, regulators and suppliers and insurers. Stakeholder engagement is considered as part of the decision making process of the Board. Given the new disclosure requirements, board and committee papers templates were updated to better focus on stakeholder matters.
The Board recognises the importance of engaging with stakeholders, understanding their views and interests in order to be successful over the long-term. Dialogue with stakeholders can help the Board to understand significant changes in the landscape, predict future developments and trends, and re-align strategy.
The Shareholder
South Essex Insurance Holdings Limited owns the entire issued Ordinary share capital of the Company which is ultimately owned by Allchurches Trust Limited. Protocols for the exchange of information between Allchurches Trust Limited and its subsidiaries (including the Company) are in place and cover performance, operations and financial position.
The Board has an honest and constructive relationship with its shareholder. There is at least one “Common Director” (i.e., a Director who is a member of the Boards of the Company, South Essex Insurance Holdings Limited and Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc) who is expected to attend every Board Meeting. Mark Hews (Ecclesiastical Group Chief Executive Officer) as the “Common Director” presented a summary of highlights from Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc Board meetings to the Directors. Regular dialogue takes place on the Group’s expectations of the Company and strategy for the development of business.
This ensures that the views and expectations of the Shareholder are communicated to the Board as a whole. In turn, the Common Director is able to support the directors of the Shareholder to understand the performance and strategic issues faced by the Company.
The Board recognises employees as their most valuable asset given their specialist skills and knowledge and propensity to go above and beyond. Employee matters are regularly considered by the Board via their Deputy Chief Executive’s Report.
The Board oversaw the development of the SEIB Vision Statement with support from managers, supervisors and junior members of the SEIB Team. In order to engage, involve and inform employees the following methods are used:
• a variety of communication channels including intranet, staff emails, newsletters, team meetings, Directors lunches, conferences, publishing of financial reports, and feedback and discussion is adopted (including to make employees aware of financial and economic factors affecting the performance of the company);
• an engagement survey (MySay survey) is conducted twice a year. The survey allows the tracking of engagement and provides employee views on a range of matters affecting them. The results are reviewed at Board level and are cascaded to Managers to discuss local results with employees and create action plans to respond to concerns;
• a performance related bonus scheme is operated, which directly links individual objectives and business performance to encourage employees to participate in the overall financial success of the Company; and a range of training, development and volunteering activities are available to employees, including technical courses, mentoring, coaching and community opportunities.
Some matters affecting employees are also determined at Group level as set out in Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc’s Section 172 Statement.
Customers and clients are the lifeblood of the Company. The Board considers that customers should be at the heart of everything we do, ensuring any actions or decisions demonstrate our passion for customers and make us first choice for customers both today and in the future. In addition, the Board received updates on customer issues via the Deputy Chief Executive Officers Report and reports on strategic initiatives.
Regular meetings are held between management and key clients to understand their needs and perspectives. In addition, the Company has regular engagement with clients (including conducting listening exercises, surveys, holding focus or consultative groups, monitoring customer complaints and satisfaction data) and key outcomes are shared with the Board. Our commitment to customers is further demonstrated by the tailored Customer Promises that has been developed.
During the year an on-line self-assessment tool had been developed to allow funeral directors to complete an on-line risk assessment of their business premises hereby supporting our aim to become our clients ‘most trusted and ethical long-term specialist insurer and financial services adviser’. Moreover, the Board discussed outcomes and actions from the review of Treating Customers Fairly which provided comfort that processes and appropriate culture were appropriately embedded.
The strategic aim is to provide a first class service to all clients to satisfy their needs and expectations and to deal promptly with claims. The importance of the role that suppliers play in ensuring a reliable service is delivered to clients is recognised by Directors. Consequently, the Board (via the Broker and Advisory Management Board Audit Risk & Compliance Committee) oversees the Company’s material outsourcing contracts.
Some matters affecting suppliers are also determined at Group level as set out in Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc’s Section 172 Statement.
The Board oversees the relationship with insurers and associated placement strategy and procedure. This includes consideration of matters highlighted by the Carrier Management Committee (including outcomes from third party audits undertaken on behalf of insurers).
The Company has a conflict of interest policy which sets out how actual and perceived conflicts of interests between Company and the Insurers that we use.
Community and environment
The Company and the Group is focused on long-term and strategic charitable giving consequently the Board received updates on corporate responsibility including the work with our charitable partners including Hope4Havering and FASD Awareness. During 2020, the Board considered outcomes from the SEIB Giving Awards where 10 charities received awards totalling £50,000.
Some decisions and policies affecting the community and environment are determined at Group level. Associated information is set out in Ecclesiastical Insurance Office Plc’s Section 172 Statement and key points are detailed below.
Executive Directors have considered an initial plan to address climate change requirements across the Group on a consolidated basis. Moreover, recognising the importance of climate change, the Board agreed to add it as a separate risk to the Group Risk Register.
During the year, the Board has considered the payment of grants to Allchurches Trust Limited for charitable purposes. It also monitors outcomes from the Greater Good Programme strategic initiative and is proud that the Group continues to retain its leading position as a corporate donor: Ecclesiastical is the UK’s fourth largest corporate donor and the only insurer in the top ten¹. For employee-led community investment, the Group ranks second in the UK².
The Group is focused on long-term and strategic charitable giving by tackling the shortage of heritage skills working with a number of partners including the Prince’s Foundation. A key priority for the Group’s giving is to support young people’s mental health and has been working with the oldest children’s charity, Coram. The Group’s businesses continue to support causes which are important to their customers and contribute to their local communities.
Employees are supported to give to causes they care about through MyGiving. This enables them to offer support with volunteering, small grants and fundraising matching to create direct involvement and help to drive charitable giving at a local level.
The Board recognises the importance of open and honest dialogue with regulators (including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). In addition, the Board has received regular updates on legal, regulatory and compliance matters. During the year, the Board oversaw activity to meet requirements for the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR) which were implemented in December 2019.
By order of the Board