UK’s Direct Insurance Group Commits to Permanent Homeworking for Its Workforce

Direct Insurance Group, a London-based specialty insurance broker and underwriting business, announced it has commited to a remote working policy for all staff, following the coronavirus lockdown.

The group will continue to maintain its eight offices located in UK, Europe and North America and will remain headquartered in London, but from the end of the lockdown, staff will have the choice of office, homeworking or a combination of both, based on business and personal needs.

“I’m excited and delighted to be the first insurance company to formally announce this. Embracing remote working permanently is primarily about the wellbeing of our staff and we have seen how effective ‘working-from-home’ can be,” said David Bearman, chief executive officer for Direct Insurance Group.

(Editor’s note: Nationwide in the U.S. announced last month that it plans to permanently transition to a hybrid operating model that comprises primarily working-from-office in four main corporate campuses and working-from-home in most other locations.)

“Over the last nine weeks our group has not merely survived the lockdown, we’ve actually thrived. Our staff have saved money and countless hours by skipping the daily commute; time that is now spent learning, innovating, exercising, connecting and collaborating. For many there is also more time left over at the end of the day for friends, family and leisure,” Bearman added. “That is all against a backdrop of financials that show we are 26% up in terms of enquiries since we started remote working mid-March.”

He said this period of working from home in many ways is a “natural extension” of the company’s existing culture. “We’ve always focused on ‘outcomes.’ rather than how much time people spend at their desk. We employ good people and trust them to do a good job.”

In April, Direct Insurance Group also launched a new employee wellbeing benefits package for all staff within the group, which provides an extended full-pay maternity and paternity package to parents-to-be, free weekly gym and personal training sessions, nutritional and wellbeing classes (all available online and via videoconference during lockdown, and now in perpetuity).

Female staff now receive full pay for the first six months of maternity leave, with male employees entitled to two months fully paid paternity leave.

“Covid-19 has had tragic consequences for many families across the globe. It’s also changed the way we live and work, and at DIG we are embracing this change to improve the wellbeing of our staff,” said Bearman. “There’s very little reason to return to the way things used to be before the outbreak. Whichever way you look at it it’s clear that this is the way forward, and I’ve no doubt other insurance companies will soon follow suit.”

About Direct Insurance Group

Formed in 1996, Direct Insurance Group Plc offers a range of specialist and niche solutions in all lines of property and casualty re/insurance via its retail, wholesale and MGA platforms. It has offices in the UK, Europe and North America.

Source: Direct Insurance Group