Sustainability

Utmost Life and Pensions is committed to making a positive difference. Our responsibility to our customers combines with a sense of responsibility in all our corporate actions to the environment, to our employees and to the wider society in which we operate in order to maximise the positive impacts we can create. As well as being an overall positive for the society, this also makes business sense in keeping with our long-term vision.

Sustainability Strategy

Our sustainability strategy is defined along four pillars, which are underpinned by policies and targets across the Group, recognising that sustainable business encompasses a range of topics.

An important aspect is in providing good customer outcomes. We seek to communicate transparently with our customers, provide good customer service and our proposition is continually assessed to ensure suitable outcomes.

Additionally, we recognise the importance of our role as a long-term allocator of capital. Sustainable investing is a key issue facing our industry and wider society, and an important factor to our customers when allocating funds. The Group takes its responsibility seriously and is committed to taking a pro-active approach to sustainable investing.

Read more details about our approach to sustainability under each key pillar.

CUSTOMER OUTCOMES

Our Mission

Utmost Life and Pensions is part of the wider Utmost Group, founded on the belief that all stakeholders are better served as part of an active and growing franchise. The provision of good customer outcomes remains front and centre of our strategy. Our overall purpose is to build a brighter future for our customers and better serve all stakeholders.

Utmost Life and Pensions is built upon the combined strengths of trusted sector expertise, secure financial foundations and commitment to customer focus, and is here to help every policyholder in our care achieve future peace of mind with their life and pension policies.

Customer Outcomes

In order to support our mission of providing good customer outcomes, Utmost Life and Pensions:

  • Provides good customer service and communicates openly and honestly with customers
  • Developing systems to support customers with the provision of data which helps them understand the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores of their investments. Utmost Life and Pensions is actively working to provide an additional sustainable investment option to our customers

Projected population ageing in our society has far-reaching implications including an increased requirement for individuals to provide for their own retirement. Our business is particularly sensitive to the relevance, needs and consequences of an ageing population and our solutions help support individuals in saving for their own retirement.

Customer Service

Our responsibility to our customers stretches throughout their lifetimes and in some cases through multiple generations. The provision of good customer outcomes is front and centre of our strategy. We look to provide good customer service at every stage of the customer journey. All our servicing is performed in-house so that we can maintain our high standards and controls and our customer service teams are continually focused on maintaining customer service excellence.

Our employees are committed to providing excellent levels of service through clear communications and ensuring our staff are appropriately trained and engaged to support our customers. Given the demographics of our client base, our staff are specially trained in dealing with vulnerable customers in order that they are treated appropriately and with empathy.

RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENTS

Utmost Life and Pensions recognise the importance of our role as a long-term allocator of capital, and we consider Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors as part of our investment activity. Sustainable investing is a key issue for our industry and an important factor for our customers when allocating funds. We take our responsibility seriously and aim to make sustainable investment decisions, considering the sustainability impact of investment decisions on our clients, partners, employees and the wider society in which we operate.

Utmost Life and Pensions are committed to taking a pro-active approach to sustainable investing and we are evolving our Responsible Investment framework. Our first areas of focus are shareholder assets and our internally managed fund ranges. We monitor the ESG scores of our invested assets and are introducing a target minimum average score across the portfolio. We are also working to provide additional sustainable investment options to our customers.

Utmost Life and Pensions aspires to:

  • Increase the proportion of our investments in sustainable assets
  • Provide increased sustainable investment options to our customers
  • Align our investment portfolio with the beliefs of our stakeholders on sustainability

Responsible investing is a rapidly evolving area with new measures being developed and customer and societal expectations increasing over time. Our strategic approach to sustainable investing will be regularly reviewed in line with the Utmost Group’s sustainability vision.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Utmost Life and Pensions has a responsibility to reduce its environmental impact and to protect the environment. Our business and our employees take this responsibility seriously.

As an insurance business, our environmental impact is lower than other industries. Nonetheless, we are committed to reducing and minimising the environmental impact of our operations and embedding a sustainable mind set into our corporate philosophy.

Our Carbon Footprint

Our business has delivered various initiatives in order to lower the carbon footprint of our offices. These include enabling our employees to reduce their impact on the environment, for example through encouraging the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy and discouraging the use of single-use plastics. We’re also part of the wider Utmost Group; a growing specialist life assurance group. As a business operating across locations, we encourage the use of virtual meeting software, and the Group offsets the carbon footprint of our employees’ business travel.

Our Investments

The Utmost Group is an asset owner of c. £50bn of assets under administration, our approach to managing investments can have a positive impact on the environment. The Group takes a pro-active approach to sustainable investing and is embedding a responsible investment approach throughout our portfolio. We are introducing a target to maintain a minimum average ESG score across our shareholder asset portfolio and are working to provide additional sustainable investment options to our customers.

Our Supply Chain

Within our supply chain, we look to work with select organisations which operate in line with our corporate philosophy and help us deliver our long-term vision. We promote the use of recycled materials and look to evaluate the environmental impact of any products we source as well as considering how they are disposed of in order to reduce our environmental impact.

We continue to take committed action to reduce our environmental impact. As the business continues to grow, we continue to identify ways to work more efficiently and reduce our impact further.

The Group is undertaking an exercise to identify areas where we can reduce our environmental impact and promote environmental awareness to our employees with a view to having a net zero carbon emissions operational footprint within 5 years.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Utmost Life and Pensions aims to make a positive difference to our employees, our customers and our communities.

Our Employees

Our employees are core to the success of the Company, both individually and collectively. It is an important priority of Utmost Life and Pensions that our employees enjoy a diverse and vibrant work environment which ensures they are fulfilled and committed.

An important focus is embedding our culture and values across our business. We want each employee to embrace our value of collaboration to make a positive difference, approaching their work with a motivated attitude. We want to create an environment where our people can achieve their aspirations and reach their full potential.

It is important we are viewed as an attractive place to work and sustain an environment where we can continue to attract and retain the best talent. Our HR team actively encourages internal mobility of our existing employees to offer career opportunities which enhance their skills and experience, as well as external hiring to enrich our skillset and provide fresh perspectives.

Diversity and Inclusion

Utmost Life and Pensions is committed to promoting equality and diversity. Our culture values difference and looks to our employees to embody our ethos of making a positive impact. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for our employees and continue to select, recruit, train and promote the best candidates based on suitability for the role.

We look to develop diversity throughout our organization. One metric for measuring this is our gender split, which is monitored by the Board. Currently 55% of our group employees are female and 45% are male. The Group has a 5 year strategy to:

  • Increase diverse representation
  • Strengthen our leadership focus on diversity and inclusion
  • Ensure equal opportunities for progression and development for all

We treat all employees and applicants equally and recognise people from every background and experience bring valuable insights to the workplace and enhance our organisation. Discrimination has no place at Utmost Life and Pensions and we engage with our employees, our partners and our local communities to promote equality and inclusivity.

Community

Utmost Group, of which Utmost Life and Pensions is a part of is passionate about having a positive impact not only on the lives of its employees, but also on the communities in which it operates. Local initiatives include fundraising events for local charities selected by local staff, donation matching schemes and the availability of community support leave to help local organisations.

Utmost Challenge

The Utmost Challenge is an exciting part of Utmost Group’s community engagement programme. The Group has set up the Utmost Challenge to support its employees’ charitable giving, help us engage with the communities we work in and contribute towards them. Employees can apply for a donation to their chosen charity. To be selected for a donation, the employee must complete an outstanding challenge. The challenges which are selected are highly notable and have a significant “wow” factor i.e. the “utmost” achievement in their field.