An update from our Chief Executive
26 March 2020
We are certainly living in unprecedented times and we recognise the importance of keeping all of our members up to date with how your mutual Society is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Operating our business has become more challenging since the lockdown announcements made by the Government this week. Nevertheless, our Claims teams are included in the Government’s list of essential services and we will continue to operate our service for our 70,000+ individual members and for those insured through our Group schemes. We recognise that your circumstances may have changed and we need to support you as best we can.
We are working hard to maintain our service levels with the new approach. We have a small team of staff still based in the office to ensure that we can continue to provide the usual service that members expect with regard to Claims. If you are unable to get through to our team, we use an external service provider who will take messages and forward them to us and our staff will call you back at the first available opportunity.
Foresters Support Fund
Please don’t forget that in these trying times, our Foresters Support Fund may be able to help. Discretionary grants are available to assist our adult members (over 18 years of age and who have been a member for at least 6 months) in times of hardship or distress by paying up to £2,000. For example, we’ve been able to help members affected by floods and members facing illness or financial difficulties. We feel it is only right that this fund now supports those who have been affected by COVID-19. Please click here for more details.
Thank you again for your patience and perseverance over these last few weeks and for bearing with us as we all adapt to the evolving situation we have found ourselves in.
18 March 2020
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause concern and unease amongst the UK and worldwide population, it is important that our members are kept updated with the steps that we are taking to ensure we can continue to provide the high service levels that you expect of us, for you and your family.
In keeping with government advice, our staff are set up to work from home where possible and our office remains open and manned to ensure that we continue to provide a full service. We are ensuring the welfare of those still in the office by introducing social distancing measures across our teams.
Our With Profits Fund
We are providing regular updates on the performance of our With Profits Order Insurance Fund, which you can view on our website here. Please rest assured that our expert internal Investment Management team alongside our external investment managers, AXA IM, are constantly monitoring the situation and our Investment Committee are making decisions on all of our funds’ assets to navigate the turbulence to the best of our ability. We are reducing the impact to our underlying asset values through implementing de-risking strategies. Our funds still benefit from a diverse asset mix including Gilts, UK Treasury Bills and Corporate Bonds as well as Property and SME loan funds. These other assets have performed well during this difficult period and we believe will give protection to asset values at a time of global uncertainty.
Our member benefits continue to be offered as normal with the exception of those provided via face to face contact – the Help at Home service provided by our partner, Redarc, and our social activities arranged by our branch (Court) network.
Following a review of the Help at Home service and the potential risks that it may pose to members, the decision has been taken to suspend arranging any new support, with immediate effect. RedArc have made this decision as they do not believe it will be in the best interest of members having strangers coming into their home and potentially exposing them to the virus.
If support via Help at Home is already in progress or being arranged, RedArc will continue to provide care, but will make the member aware of the potential risks.
Foresters Care remains largely unaffected, however, with RedArc staff currently working from home, there may be a slight delay with hard copy communications. Where possible, all correspondence will be sent via email.
RedArc are monitoring the situation and we will continue to update our website when anything changes.
We have advised our branch (Court) network to cease all social activity during this uncertain period which we know will be difficult for some members. We are acting in the best interests of our members and will advise when this position changes, in keeping with government advice.
How you can keep up to date
Please do check our website when you can as this is where we will publish updates when they become available. And, please rest assured that as your mutual society, we will do our utmost to ensure we put you, and our staff who provide you with the service you have come to expect, first at all times.
Wishing you all the very best in these uncertain times,