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Insurance for Good makes a difference in Ōtautahi

When the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (ŌCHT) set out to review and renew its insurance cover recently, it didn’t know the process would end up directly helping its tenants. But that’s exactly what happened, thanks to the ‘Insurance for Good’ programme.

Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust (ŌCHT) is a Christchurch-based social housing provider that supports those most in need with community housing.

Formed in 2016 as a charitable trust, ŌCHT manages Christchurch City Council’s social housing portfolio and builds new community homes with a portfolio of more than 2,500 properties under management.

Polly Peña, ŌCHT’s Community Engagement Lead, says the trust has a different outlook from that of a traditional landlord: “The normal exchange between a landlord and a tenant is ‘pay this sum of money and we’ll give you a place to live’. ŌCHT has really focused on community building and doing what we can as a community landlord to support tenants to achieve sustainable tenancies” 

Partnering for good

ŌCHT’s focus on building communities takes many forms, including offering services to its tenants such as an employment coach, and helping develop digital skills through its digital inclusion programme.

laptops being used in a classroom setting

ŌCHT's digital inclusion programme gives tenants the opportunity to learn essential digital skills

Insurance for Good is an innovative collaboration between Gallagher and Raizor, a social enterprise creating a world where spending and giving merge. For every insurance policy taken out by a new client referred by Raizor, Gallagher donates 20% of the broker commission to the client’s charity of choice. This means clients benefit from expert insurance advice while helping their preferred charity at the same time.

Recently, when ŌCHT's insurance cover was being reviewed, Gallagher was selected as its broker. As well as getting the cover it needed, ŌCHT was also eligible as a charity to receive a $7,500 donation through Insurance for Good. ŌCHT put this donation towards its digital inclusion programme, which aims to help get tenants online and upskilled in the digital world.

Colin Thomas

“It’s clear that to ŌCHT community is much more than a collection of properties… it's humbling and rewarding for Gallagher and Raizor to be able to play a small part in some of the great work ŌCHT is already doing through Insurance for Good.”

Colin Thomas, Raizor Co-Founder

Equipping tenants for the digital world

While research on digital inclusion and equity has found that around 10% of New Zealanders don’t have access to a digital device or the internet in their own home, the picture is different for many social housing tenants.

Polly says that during the COVID-19 lockdowns, ŌCHT “found between 50 and 60% of our tenants didn't have access to either the internet or an internet-capable device. Bringing that rate of digital inclusion up has become a real focus for us.”

Digital coach talking with a student using a laptop

Digital coaches offer tenants comprehensive and personalised training

Personalised digital coaching

ŌCHT partnered with Christchurch fibre broadband network provider Enable to explore ways to improve digital inclusion in ŌCHT communities. This work led to a new project to get two years free wireless broadband to digitally excluded tenants, and free wi-fi internet in the Trust’s shared community lounges.

The Trusts also employed digital coaches to help tenants learn how to use the internet, with high demand for their services.

Thanks in part to the donation through Insurance for Good, ŌCHT has been able to take on a second digital coach to meet this demand, says Polly: “The Insurance for Good donation will help us extend the service to offer more skills training and get more people motivated and connected.

“Our big aim is just to get our tenants online and using the internet safely and feeling motivated to use it for the things they need, whether that’s banking, study, employment or entertainment.“

Polly Peña

Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust

“It's really immense to receive this support from Gallagher and Raizor, and we're really grateful… It’s helping us empower our tenants to feel like they can participate in wider society and that they've got everything that they need to live comfortable lives, like we all deserve to.”

Published June 2023