Welcome to the 2018 Viewpoints Spring Newsletter.
Beating the ‘Beast from the East’ to maintain our first class service
When the ‘Beast from the East’ brought snow and freezing conditions to the South West in early March, Cornish Mutual was determined to maintain the highest level of service to Members. Although we eventually had to close our offices, to ensure the safety of our staff, our teams were set up to work from home.
With plummeting temperatures causing treacherous conditions across the region, this was a challenging time for our Members. We remained committed to keeping our phone lines open throughout the adverse weather. Despite receiving a high level of calls while staff were working from home, we were able to deal with all enquiries.
We know our Members will be reassured that, when times get tough, Cornish Mutual will ensure we continue to deliver a first class service.
Health and Wellbeing Day
Cornish Mutual is proud to hold a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Healthy Workplace Award: a programme for employers to focus on the health and wellbeing of their employees. For the past four years, Cornish Mutual has attended the Healthy Workplace Awards, having followed a stringent assessment to earn our gold and silver status.
This February, we ran a health and wellbeing day for all employees. They left armed with tips and advice on keeping themselves and their families safe and well. Leading experts from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, British Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Cornwall and Joe Rice First Aid spent the day giving valuable advice on issues including personal safety, mental health and how to spot early signs of a stroke or heart attack. Ramsey Health Care ran a drop in blood pressure check clinic, while Duchy Hospital and Cornwall Diabetes were on hand for one-to-one consultations.
Cornish Mutual staff member Nick Bunting said: “Thanks to everyone involved for making it a super day, very informative and fun. It was also great to mix with colleagues I wouldn’t usually meet up with.”
Cornish Mutual Head of Sales and Operations Sharon Plowright said: “We have more than 100 team members based across the South West – from Cornwall to Dorset. Events like this are a really important way for us to get everyone together.
We organise regular expert advice events to help our Members keep up to date with health and safety issues, so felt it was time for us to do something similar for our staff. This was a great opportunity for us to focus on our own health and the wellbeing of our families.”
Increase in reports of sheep worrying
Cornish Mutual has been advised of an increase in sheep worrying incidents in the region.
Cornish Mutual Sales and Operations Leader Philip Wilson is a member of the Somerset Rural Crime Forum, where the issue has been raised. He said: “Sadly, lambing season can trigger an increase in livestock worrying incidents. Anyone whose dog chases livestock on farm land is committing the offence of livestock worrying.
The effects of livestock worrying can be far reaching. Affected animals can become frightened of other dogs, which can cause issues for farmers who rely on working dogs. Of course, animals cannot tell farmers about their injuries and something minor can become serious if it is left untreated.”
The police advise that dogs are kept on a lead when around livestock. However, a dog walker who is approached by cattle should let the dog off the lead to avoid putting themselves at risk. Anyone who witnesses a dog out of control, or an attack on livestock, should report the incident by calling 101. Farmers can also contact their local police team to request signage on their land, reminding people of the risks their dogs pose to livestock.
Claire achieves highest insurance accreditation
Cornish Mutual Technical Leader Claire Longman has been named a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Claire achieved the CII’s highest qualification by proving her in-depth insurance expertise and commitment to ethical practice.
Claire has 15 years’ experience in insurance, mainly gained through working for insurance firms in the South East. She returned to her home county and joined Cornish Mutual in 2012, where she has been at the forefront of developing a number of new insurance offerings for our Members across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
In 2012, Cornish Mutual became the first mutual insurance company in the UK and the first insurer in the South West to achieve Chartered status from the CII.
Alan Goddard, Managing Director of Cornish Mutual, said: “Congratulations to Claire on being named a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute. This is testament to her commitment and the depth and breadth of her expertise.
At Cornish Mutual, we are committed to providing training and development for our staff, so we were delighted to support Claire in achieving her Fellowship. For our Members, these accreditations give peace of mind, showing that we have the best people who really understand insurance.”
Helping South West charities
Our charity fundraising has got off to a great start this year. So far in 2018, we have presented a total of £7,265.38 to eight South West charities: CHICKS Charity, Children’s Hospice South West, Cornwall Air Ambulance, The Cove Macmillan Support Centre, Devon Air Ambulance and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.
Cornish Mutual Managing Director Alan Goddard said: “We are passionate about supporting our local communities in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Cornish Mutual staff are encouraged to support local charities and events. We get involved in charity runs, bake-a-thons, beach clean ups and all kinds of other community events around the South West.
At Cornish Mutual, it is part of our ethos that we all want to make a difference so the South West is an even better place to live and work.”
Supporting the farmers of the future
Cornish Mutual has a long-standing commitment to Young Farmers clubs across the region. We are delighted to announce that we have now presented Cornwall Young Farmers Club (YFC) with a cheque for £10,000. Our support will help Cornwall YFC continue to provide fantastic opportunities for its 860 members.
We will be helping Cornwall YFC to redesign and launch their website, as well as setting them up with some new computer hardware. This will help them to communicate with their network of 20 clubs and run their day-to-day activities. We look forward to joining Cornwall YFC on a number of events, supporting them and building on our existing relationship.
Free expert advice events for Cornish Mutual Members
Cornish Mutual is holding another series of free expert advice events for Members this spring. We organise these events to help our Members stay up to date with the latest advice on farm safety, and get expert insights on topics such as succession planning.
With farming being the most dangerous occupation in the UK, these events are part of Cornish Mutual’s commitment to improving health and safety on farms. They also give Members the opportunity to hear from some of the region’s leading experts on a range of issues facing farm businesses.
Arthur Denton, Member Services Advisor for Cornish Mutual, said: “At Cornish Mutual we are passionate about improving farm safety and about helping our Members stay up to date with the latest advice. These events are always very interactive, with plenty of opportunities to ask questions. They are also a great way for Members to get together and share experiences.
“This spring we are holding events in Somerset and Dorset, where we have not previously had as many of these expert events. This will give our Members in this part of the region an opportunity to come along and meet us, chat to other Members and hear from our panel of experts.
Our expert advice events are becoming increasingly popular, so we would urge Members to sign up as early as possible.”
The events are due to be held next month at three venues across Somerset and Dorset. They are: Somerset YFC Hall, Bridgwater, Thursday 12 April, 6.30pm-9.30pm; Litton & Thorner’s Community Hall, Litton Cheney Dorchester, Tuesday 17 April, 6.30pm-9.30pm; Junction24, Bridgwater, Saturday 24 April, 9.30am-3.30pm.
To book and for more information please call 01872 246474.
Cornish Mutual Members home after Coverack flood
When the Cornish village of Coverack was flooded last July, Cornish Mutual Members Chris and Penny Hammill made national news. They escaped upstairs after water burst through their dormer bungalow, and were airlifted to safety by a Coastguard helicopter. Because of the extent of the damage, the couple were originally not expecting to be home until February or March, but were in fact home for Christmas.
The morning after the flooding, Penny rang our claims team. By early afternoon the same day, we had experts on site to assess the damage, retrieve possessions and clear debris. We employed builders, who have completed the internal work, including plastering, decorating and installing new flooring, tiles, kitchen and bathroom suites, and a replacement boiler and fire.
Cornish Mutual Managing Director Alan Goddard said: “The Coverack flooding was a shock to everyone and caused devastation in the village. We coordinated a support team to get Chris and Penny back home. We are absolutely delighted this was achieved ahead of schedule and in time for Christmas.”
Penny said: “We have had so much support. We moved to Cornish Mutual a few years ago because we wanted a local insurance company. It turned out to be a very good decision. Everyone has been wonderful and has worked really hard.”