AAI's staff Support Network turns one

Two people grabbing hands

As New Zealand continues its high rate of reported violence against women, we’re encouraging staff to wear a white ribbon today – not only to bring awareness to the cause of ending domestic violence, but as a reminder of the support available should they ever need it.

A year ago, we launched our Support Network at AAI. As the network lead, I’m one of a team of volunteers trained in supporting colleagues experiencing domestic violence as well as those experiencing poor mental health.

During our monthly meetings we often reflect on the conversations we’ve had throughout the month and many of us have been able to call on the skills we’ve gained - not only for work colleagues but also to support our friends and family.

In fact, I was able to support a close friend who disclosed she was leaving her husband after experiencing years of manipulation and emotional abuse. Although they appeared really happy together from the outside, she had put up with her husband’s behaviour for a long time, “because that’s just how he was”. It all escalated to one event in which she recognised the behaviour for what it was and, eventually, she found the courage to leave this destructive environment with her kids. I couldn’t be prouder of her and was so pleased I could call on the skills I had gained from the network including the confidence to listen and talk to her about such a difficult topic.

It’s important the team members monitor the network’s effectiveness, so all conversations with colleagues are logged to ensure we can share our experiences, talk about our learnings and track any trends.  While names/teams are not mentioned and all conversations are strictly confidential, logging dates, topic themes and any advice provided is a helpful sharing tool for our volunteers. 

Reflecting on the past year, I’m so proud of the team and the conversations they have had across all areas of the business. The Support Network has been approached by nearly 6% of our staff. Although many conversations have been about staff experiencing poor mental health, 14% have been about domestic abuse and I think that would come as a surprise to many staff It just goes to show that domestic abuse can impact anyone, because we never know what goes on behind closed doors.

I can only imagine how difficult it must be to confide that you are in an abusive situation at home, but having colleagues who are trained to support their peers, and managers who are trained to identify the warning signs, ensures there is help and support within reach.

Erin Brearley

Safety & Wellbeing Business Partner, AA Insurance

About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our 860 staff look after almost 470,000 customers with 930,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Eden Park and have been consistently recognised by: Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands (11 consecutive years since 2011) and Quality Service Awards for Car, and Home and Contents Insurance (since 2015), Kantar Customer Leadership Index (since 2019), Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers (2011-2018), and the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015) that recognises New Zealand’s most successful companies. Last year, AA Insurance was also named Consumer NZ People’s Choice award winner for car, home and contents (since 2019).

AA Insurance has an A+ (Strong) Insurer Financial Strength Rating given by Standard and Poor’s (Australia) Pty Ltd. For further information visit aainsurance.co.nz.

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