Our C-19 Business Pledge

Businesses have a responsibility to support colleagues, customers and wider communities, here’s how we’re playing our part

We’re proud to have joined with businesses from across the globe in an initiative to support society through this incredibly difficult time. Businesses have a responsibility to support colleagues, customers and wider communities throughout the outbreak and we’re doing everything we can to play our part.

We’ve pledged our backing to the C-19 business pledge’s three objectives to help address the challenges of coronavirus because we firmly believe it reflects our determination to make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.

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About the C-19 Business Pledge

The C-19 Business Pledge looks to create a coalition of organisations to deliver international support throughout the outbreak. In signing-up to the Pledge employers commit to:

  • Support employees through COVID-19 and beyond
  • Provide clear customer advice, support and information
  • Help communities through the epidemic
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The Pledge has received the backing of more than 290 organisations representing more than 3 million employees and students.

The measures we’ve put in place to support our employees, our customers and communities across the UK

1. Supporting our employees

Since coronavirus started affecting the UK, the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers has been our priority. Given that insurance is an essential service with millions of customers needing support on a daily basis, we’ve been working hard to increase our teams’ ability to work from home, ensuring we can continue to service our customers whilst being safe.

Our work from home capacity has been increased from 30% to over 90% and we have taken the step to close 21 of our 31 UK offices. The 10 remaining offices remain open only for specific tasks which cannot be done from home, such as organising incoming post and the AXA Health Taking Care emergency contact centres. For the small number of employees who still need to come into the office on an ad hoc basis, social distancing and increased cleaning schedules are in operation to keep office locations safe.

To support employee safety and wellbeing in these challenging circumstances, AXA has been sharing ongoing guidance with all employees via a coronavirus hub on its internal communications portal. The advice and webinars range from home working with children to online yoga sessions and video blogs from senior leaders, including AXA Health experts. In addition, all AXA UK employees are able to use AXA Health's online virtual GP service, Doctor@Hand, to access unlimited appointments over-the-phone or via video call. The offer is also extended to our colleague’s close family until the end of July to provide healthcare advice and treatment while social distancing is in place. AXA has also made access available to a service supplied by ‘Thrive’, which uses cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness techniques and distraction-therapy games to help employees manage mood and build mental resilience.

AXA also runs an employee assistance programme, ‘Be Supported’, offering a free, confidential and impartial service, to assist with any difficulties employees may have in life: personal support, life management and mental and physical health.

AXA will not be making any use of government furloughing schemes throughout this period, any employee who has had their office closed and is yet to receive the required tools to work from home will receive their salaries in full, while we prioritise delivering the necessary equipment. We have made provisions, including full pay, for the most vulnerable to self-isolate for 12 weeks. To support working parents whose children are no longer able to attend school, AXA is offering flexible working arrangements enabling employees to work around their childcare responsibilities. Employees can take an additional 15 days of emergency leave, on top of the standard 5 days, and can bring forward annual leave from 2021.

Supporting good causes and helping others means a lot to us and is very much needed during this time. That is why AXA is also offering 10 additional days of paid leave for employees who wish to volunteer in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, we’re offering four weeks of paid leave for any clinically trained employees who wish to respond to the NHS request for help from medical professionals.

We appreciate this is an incredibly worrying time for all of us, to ensure we are constantly adapting to the changing needs of our colleagues during this challenging period, we are conducting regular check-in surveys. The results will help us to respond quickly with any further supportive measures that are needed.

2. Supporting our customers

In these unmatched times, AXA is taking a number of steps across our product lines to support our customers.

These measures include:

  • AXA is offering flexible repayment options on a range of products for customers experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 where appropriate. No additional interest or fees will be applied to repayment plans so customers will not pay more as a result of delayed payments.
  • Cover is extended free of charge for travel customers who are stranded abroad and trying to get back to the UK – including single trip, annual multi-trip and package bank account policies.
  • Cover is enhanced for motor customers affected by the impact of coronavirus. Key workers and NHS Volunteer Responders don’t need to change their motor insurance to commute by car and people can transport medicines and groceries to help their communities without informing us. AXA is also waiving cancellation fees for motor customers.
  • Our home policies automatically cover customers to carry out office work from home and so, customers do not need to update their policies during this period.
  • For commercial businesses, cover for unoccupied buildings has been extended from 30 days to 60 days.
  • AXA Health commits to assess and adjust for any impacts of the delays in treats during the coronavirus crisis. A Clinical Support Service has been set-up to review diagnostics and patient records electronically to signpost members to the most appropriate specialist – policy excesses, benefit limits or restrictions on out-patient services are waived during the crisis period for this service.

3. Helping communities in Britain through the epidemic

Business in the Community

During this unprecedented global crisis, it is vital our communities receive support from businesses that have the resources to help. AXA UK has therefore donated £1 million to Business in the Community (BITC) to support the charity’s recently formed National Business Response Network.

Organised as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, the National Business Response Network connects national and local community groups, businesses, local authorities and charities providing food, medicine or community services. Help comes from businesses, ensuring that the right support is delivered to the right place, at the right time. Over the coming months, AXA plan to support the network, both on the ground and online, with volunteers. The partnership will allow colleagues from across the country to contribute, using their skills and time to support local communities.

The donation marks the start of our partnership with Business in the Community, with AXA joining BITC Board of Trustees and becoming a founding partner of The National Business Response Network.

Age UK

As the provider of the Age UK personal alarm service, AXA Health Taking Care, has donated £100,000 to Age UK’s Emergency Coronavirus Appeal to support the elderly through the pandemic. The donation will support Age UK’s crucial work, including their information and advice service that are receiving an unparalleled number of calls. It will also support Age UK’s other activities including their information guides, telephone befriending service and work in local communities.

Community Grant Fund 2020

AXA runs a Community Grant Fund each year to support charities across the UK. The Fund is an employee-led initiative where colleagues choose and vote for their favoured charitable cause. This year’s scheme has been brought forward to April and will include funds of over £70,000 to be distributed to charities financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis across the UK.

Work from home allowance

AXA is providing all employees an exceptional working from home allowance for this period to cover any additional expenditure on heating, electricity and broadband. We have given any employee who wishes to donate their allowance, the option to, with proceeds going to NHS Providers and our charity partner, Young Minds. This has resulted in over £10,000 being donated in April.