Looking after our retired vulnerable ex-colleagues in the current crisis


youTalk-insurance Founder and Managing Director Paul Handleigh makes a plea to people working in the UK general insurance industry not to forget about their retired friends and much-loved ex-colleagues during the Coronavirus crisis. Remembering that it is these same people that helped to build some of the companies (some legacy) that many people in the sector now work for.

If you’re anything like me, you may have more recently been guilty of switching off the telly or the radio occasionally, in order to shield yourself from the nightly round up of deeply upsetting and moving stories that await.

At the start of crisis, I was Initially left feeling a tad impotent about how I, Paul, a 52-year old husband with slightly greying hair, father of three daughters, could make a difference and help the situation. Then the idea came!!!

I have since set up a support group for all of the people who live in the thirty-two homes on the Essex steet I live in. 

It's been great to see new friendships being forged and the generational divide being narrowed. 

It would seem that contrary to the old saying, the devil does in fact not make work for idle hands, as it turns out, idleness is a great time to think and develop ideas, and get flashes of inspiration.

So, I’m pleased to say that my neighbourhood group now has been running for just over a fortnight and each one of my vulnerable neighbours now has a ’Buddy’ to talk to and run errands for them and we have a vibrant WhatsApp community where people are sharing useful information.

That’s all well and good Paul, but what’s this got to do with insurance?

Having worked in the sector for over 35 years, it’s fair to say I’ve witnessed a fair amount of change.

The industry somehow seems just faster.

Now one of the unintended consequences of travelling at great velocity and living in a fast changing world is that people can be left behind.

It is with this in mind, and very much for the purposes of this blog here and now, I’m talking about our ex-colleagues that have retired from the industry.  Do we ever spare them a thought?

Now the perceived wisdom is that they will have all retired with a comfortable pension to see out their twilight years pruning roses, watching daytime telly and giving out Werther’s Originals to their grandchildren.

I sincerely hope that in a majority of cases this is true, however, I suspect sadly that the reality for many insurance retirees is somewhat different (illness, loneliness, bereavement, etc).

We must also remember that this community is perhaps the most worried at the present time, as it is sadly a majority of their demographic that seems to be paying the heaviest price.

In writing this blog, I was reminded of my much-loved Nanny.  She worked for Heinz for over 35 years and as a demonstration of what this loyalty meant to its business, as well as paying her a pension, they sent her monthly food parcels after she retired until she passed away in 1989. She was also part of an alumni and was invited to specially arranged Christmas and summer parties. 

It’s a pity that in a world where wellbeing is plastered everywhere that this doesn’t see to extend as much as it should to the elderly whose years of service is often overlooked and forgotten.

Action: Reach out to an ex-retired colleague - The Maths

Now my maths here is crude.  Anyone that knows me will know that I was never destined to be working for NASA and my application to MIT was soundly rejected, here goes…

If this article gets 5,000 views (highly likely)

And only 5 percent of you are moved to act and make contact with a retired ex-colleague

That’s 250 people who will potentially feel valued, loved, cherished and most importantly of all not forgotten, especially at this extremely challenging time.

Go on, change someone’s day


If you are an insurance broker or an insurer and have some good news to share about something you have done to help people in the communities you serve during the current Coronavirus Crisis, we would love to hear from you.


Please read this blog Coronavirus Crisis: Brokers and insurers tell us what you are doing to help for further information written by our Managing Director Paul Handleigh.



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Founder and Managing Director of www.youTalk-insurance.com the completely FREE and independent insurance news, video and thought leadership multimedia website for insurance and risk professionals.

Contact Paul: paul@youtalk-insurance.com

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