Hastings stands out because we focus on getting it right for our 4Cs. It is our belief that ethical conduct is an integral component of running a business successfully and it is an expectation we have of both our colleagues and our suppliers. We continually look at ways to make improvements so we can continue to serve our communities and be a good neighbour.
Strong supplier relationships are vital to our continued success. We work closely with our local and national suppliers to communicate our standards, values, principles and sustainability goals to them and ensure they are aligned in helping us offer the best price, product and service solutions to benefit our customers and colleagues.
Each colleague is responsible for delivering our everyday activities in a way that reflects ethical principles. We play our part by:
- inviting our customers to receive all their documentation electronically;
- supporting local businesses with a range of unique offers that encourage and incentivise our colleagues to buy from local retailers, suppliers and services;
- promoting a Travel Green initiative that supports our colleagues in making greener journeys to work through car sharing, increased cycle use and discounted rail travel;
- dedicated recycle and confidential waste stations and at our head office site in Bexhill we send zero waste to landfill;
- encouraging the use of travel mugs and water bottles to cut the use of disposable cups. This year we also introduced 40 dedicated coffee cup recycle stations across our head office in Bexhill;
- using reduced energy electric light bulbs and motion sensitive lighting where possible and practical; and
- recycling unwanted furniture by donating it to local charities and organisations.
Whistle blowing, fraud and anti-bribery and corruption
A whistle blowing policy is in force across the Group to enable colleagues to bring to the attention of any Director serious matters of misconduct which they believe would damage the performance or reputation of the Group. A confidential, externally serviced hotline is provided for all colleagues to raise matters of misconduct. During the year no matters of significant misconduct were raised through the whistle blowing hotline.
The Group has a leading anti-fraud capability which to date has generated significant cost savings and supports its insurer panel and reinsurance partners. This capability supports comprehensive risk selection and loss validation through a dedicated team of new business review agents, analysts, intelligence operatives, claims handlers, former police officers and field based investigators.
Financial crime is a serious matter for all companies and more so for those that operate within the financial services sector. Colleagues are required to undertake awareness training on all types of financial crime and must follow Group policies, procedures and guidelines in relation to all financial operations. During the year no significant matters relating to financial crime, with the exception of fraudulent claims and ghost broking identified as part of normal business operations, were reported.
Good corporate citizen
Sustainable, long term investing extends beyond the evaluation of quantitative factors and traditional fundamental analysis of financial metrics, extending analysis to an entity’s impact on stakeholders, the environment and society. Environmental, Social and Governance (‘ESG’) factors can affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks, and provide an indication of management excellence and leadership and they integrate these factors into our investment and engagement processes. Responsible ownership also extends through proxy voting and active engagement with the boards and management of the funds invested in.
Advantage Insurance Company Limited's independent investment advisor undertakes an evaluation of investment managers’ approach to ESG and compliance with industry standards, for example the UK Stewardship Code. Integration of ESG criteria looks beyond the existence of policies and procedures and also investigates underlying ownership and holdings. In addition they extend a ‘comply or explain’ approach to a range of ESG factors, both when initially screening managers, but also on an ongoing basis to provide an ongoing framework to evaluate investment manager behaviour. Our advisers continually develop their research process, investment strategy modelling tools and reporting by incorporating innovative thinking on ESG matters. Our independent investment advisor is in the process of signing up to the United Nations supported Principles for Responsible Investment (www.unpri.org/) and expects to be a signatory within the next year.
Our aim is to adopt a principled and sustainable tax strategy that underpins the Group's desire to balance the various interests of all its stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, governments, regulators, colleagues, and the community interests which it serves. The Group seeks to ensure that it complies with all legal requirements both in the UK and in all other jurisdictions where it operates, by making all appropriate returns and payments in respect of its own tax liabilities and by collecting taxes on behalf of the relevant tax authorities in accordance with prescribed rules and deadlines.
The 2018 Gender Pay Gap Report for Hastings Insurance Services Limited, the main employer and only entity with more than 250 employees in the Hastings Group, can also be found here.
The Group's Greenhouse Gas Report can be found on page 56 of the Annual Report here