Making society more resilient with our financial solutions
Financial inclusion and improving customer services through innovative technologiesWe have a responsibility to ensure that we market our products and services to all social and economic groups.
We design and distribute our retail products so they become more accessible, transparent and simpler to purchase by innovating product design, accessing big data and rationalising the way that we distribute them. This means that many customers who do not have the confidence to engage with financial advisers or who are not prepared to pay for advice are able to own financial products.
We have developed easy-to-use digital processes for our retail life insurance and auto-enrolled pension customers. Customers can apply for and be accepted for life insurance plans completely online. Our workplace pension customers can manage their investments, track the value of their plan and find out information about their options when they retire, using our ‘MyAccount’ application.
Supporting vulnerable customers
Our Vulnerable Customer (VC) Committee has focused its activity this year on sharing best practice across the group, particularly in terms of training so that staff are able to provide suitable experiences and outcomes for vulnerable customers. We provide a referral service for certain vulnerable customers which entails a visit by a volunteer to a customer where we have particular concerns. Some of our business areas have specialist individuals and teams dedicated to serving vulnerable customers.
We directly address the increasing number of mental health problems by enhancing our products, services and investments so they are easily available to customers – identifying triggers to prevent and support those affected by the impact of suicide.
We continue to provide early support and psychological intervention for GIP (Group Income Protection) and IPB (Income Protection Benefit) claims in conjunction with our specialist partner CBT Clinics.
Our ‘Not A Red Card (NARC) campaign plays a major part during Mental Health Awareness week in May. The annual NARC event and awards will take place in October. This is a one-day event that focuses on how sport can play a role in removing the stigmas associated with mental health in the workplace through inspirational talks, informative panels, practical workshops and valuable idea sessions. It brings together employers and employees alike, discussing what we can all do to raise awareness, educate, and introduce ideas to make the workplace a safe place to talk about mental health.
Helping working people avoid debt
Salary Finance, the award-winning ‘Start-up of the Year’, continues to grow rapidly. In the UK, Salary Finance currently has more than 700,000 employees registered on the platform with an additional 300,000 expected by the second quarter of 2019.
In response to feedback from employers, Salary Finance have launched Salary Advance and, in partnership with HMRC, will launch a ‘Help To Save’ scheme in early 2019. During the second half of 2018, Salary Finance launched in the US and has a significant active pipeline to build on its current clients.
Growth opportunities for the business remain extremely positive and industry recognition of this ‘Fintech’ is high. For example, Salary Finance won ‘Responsible Business of the Year’ at the Prince Charles Business in the Community awards.
Providing insurance and health-related solutions
Our UK life insurance business continues to be the UK’s No 1 individual insurance provider. However, over 70% of UK adults have no life insurance in place. We are trying to make life insurance more accessible, by providing simple digital solutions both in the UK and US.
Our Group Protection business is developing additional products and services that look to treat mental wellbeing in the same way as physical wellbeing within the workplace.
Supporting the ageing population
Helping people save for retirement
We help over three million people save for retirement in DC pensions and help over one million people manage their finances when they have retired.
Our newly launched financial wellbeing platform for DC pensions members can help people feel financially confident. We want to help people who are saving for retirement keep their short-term money worries under control.
The financial wellbeing hub has four key themes:
1. Control day-to-day spending.
2. Prepare for unexpected expenses.
3. Maintain a regular disposable income.
4. Prepare for future life milestones – retirement, home buying, having a family and savings.
Helping the elderly in retirement
We’re also a leading provider of lifetime mortgages, enabling people to stay in their homes and improve their finances in retirement, with total loans of over £1 billion in 2018, focusing on meeting an individual’s full retirement needs.
Our research indicates that there are now 3.1 million last-time buyer households in the UK, with the number of homeowners who have considered downsizing rising from 32% to 39%. Almost half (49%) of last-time buyers said it was because there were no suitable properties available. Through Inspired Villages, we now have seven retirement sites with a property portfolio of 1,100 apartments.
In 2018, we jointly invested £8.5 million in Care Sourcer, a care comparison and matching site. This enabled Care Sourcer to expand its care matching technology UK-wide, helping to tackle the UK crisis in care.
Investing in affordable and social housing
We’re delivering housing of all forms of tenure. These include build-to-sell, build-to-rent, affordable housing and specialist housing for the elderly.
We have invested around £1.5 billion into the build-to-rent sector, and have around 3,000 homes under construction or in planning, in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Salford, Glasgow, Bath, Brighton, Leeds and across London. We aim to have 6,000 homes in planning, development or operation by the end of 2019 as we continue to help battle the UK housing crisis.
In 2018, we launched our affordable housing arm to address the overwhelming need for affordable housing across the UK, and achieved the milestone of becoming a registered provider of social housing.
Measuring social value
Following our commitment to measure 20% of our real estate portfolio by 2020, we continue to work with Social Value Portal to progress measurement and understand how best to apply this across our property portfolio. We have decided to adopt the National Social Value Measurement (TOMs) Framework as our measurement solution and we are working collaboratively with other asset managers to benchmark our performance and to provide a set of metrics that will help us improve our performance. We are working with Social Value Portal to map the TOMs Framework against the UN SDGs.
In 2018, Legal & General Homes won a Social Value Award for ‘best business contribution to social value’ for our Buckler’s Park development. Legal & General Homes has to date delivered £4,096,422 of social value for Crowthorne. The resulting Social Value Charter empowered local people and helped Legal & General Homes to narrow down the needs, priorities, challenges and opportunities that Crowthorne might face. This has allowed us to channel our efforts into things that matter most to Crowthorne residents – from traffic and public transport to employment and the local high street. We have also recently successfully won a planning submission for a new hotel development in Hammersmith and Fulham that included an innovative Social Value Statement.