Empowering the disabled and underserved

Empowering the disabled and underserved

The Star Online - Metro·2020-01-28 00:30

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AN INSURANCE company is taking the lead in empowering people with disability for social inclusivity. Allianz4Good, the corporate responsibility arm of Allianz Malaysia Bhd has its focus on the disabled, along with other underserved groups, including Orang Asli, refugees and those in the B40 income group. Allianz4Good head Ng Siew Gek said the company had employed 23 disabled people, created three insurance products to fit their needs and ensured their building and facilities were disabled-friendly, as part of their ongoing corporate responsibility efforts. “Through a workshop in 2014 attended by representatives from Bank Negara Malaysia, the Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations working with the disabled, we narrowed down that the disabled want security, barrier-free access and employability, among others. “Since then, we are dedicated to improving the economic opportunities and social visibility of the disabled community. “One of which is by supporting Abilympics through the Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation (MCR). Abilympics is a national and international skill-based competition for the disabled shaped around five professional categories — service, information technology, industry, craft and food. “Back in 2016, four Malaysian Abilympians won medals at the 2016 International Abilympics competition held in Bordeaux, France — in photography, painting, hand silk painting and web design categories. “Since then, Allianz Malaysia has been providing ongoing support for MCR in its preparation for the International Abilympics competition. Preparations are now under way for 15 competitors to represent the Malaysian contingent for the 10th International Abilympics in Russia next year,” she said. Ng said other ways to help the disabled community and non-governmental organisations working for the disabled was by providing financial aid as well as business opportunities and avenues for them to sell their products and create awareness of their respective organisations via company events. “We also give business opportunities to the disabled such as getting students from Selangor and Federal Territory Association For the Mentally Handicapped (SAMH) to make thank-you cards for our clients. “Realising that funding is a big challenge for many NGOs, we also sponsored solar panels at SAMH’s building, Wisma Harapan, to reduce electricity consumption and promote sustainable energy savings. “We also provide financial assistance to other NGOs, namely SOLS Energy which provides education and vocational training to youths from underprivileged and indigenous backgrounds, and Mobiliti which provides affordable transportation services to the wheelchair-bound disabled in the Klang Valley. “We also assist eligible NGOs and small enterprises to apply for the Social Innovation Fund programme implemented by Allianz SE, the Allianz headquarters in Munich, Germany. Since the implementation of the programme in 2017, we have managed to assist two Malaysian organisations in getting the grants,” she said. Ng added that more needed to be done to increase the disabled community’s awareness on the importance of financial security. “Despite having insurance products catering specially for the disabled with low premium payments, the take-up rate is very low. “We are looking into different solutions and approaches to better understand the needs of the disabled. “Besides better promotion of our insurance products, we hope that the regulator, Bank Negara, can loosen the criteria for distributor of disabled insurance products as this will help in increasing the take-up rate.


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