Letter from Reg Brown, Chairman, The Insurance Museum: “I’m going over your head!”

Since embarking on my campaign to open an Insurance Museum in the City of London I’ve learnt quite a few lessons, but none so important as the complexities of fundraising. I never imagined, for example, that when approaching a company for sponsorship the question which budget? would be so difficult.

We expect hundreds of thousands of people will visit the Insurance Museum, beginning with our Virtual Galleries, and eventually our physical museum. All of them – the adults at least – take out insurance in one form or another. Heads of Marketing like this target audience very much, but when I start talking about engaging with young people, recruiting, and Continuing Professional Development, they say: “Oh! This is not for our budget. Talk to HR!”

The HR people tell me they’d dearly love to have a museum they could visit with new recruits to teach them about the industry they are joining. But when it comes to the budget, their enthusiasm changes direction. 

“Hang on a minute!” the HR people say. “The museum will be open to the general public, local people, tourists, school children… shouldn’t this be part of our CSR budget?” I am in no doubt that our ultimate objective – a World Class Visitor Centre to tell the world about the great work done by the insurance industry – is everyone’s responsibility, corporate or otherwise, but you can see how I have to go round in circles. 

To be frank, I don’t mind which budget the money comes from; that’s for others to decide. My paradigm for the Insurance Museum is the Bank of England Museum. It’s a fabulous museum in the City of London which has enthralled many of my young mentees, and inspired them to think of banking as a career. 

The cost of running that museum is circa £3m a year. That figure became our first publicly stated fundraising target. Unfortunately, unlike the Bank, we can’t just print £3 million! We have to ask you for it. 

The ABI estimates 2019 UK insurance and long-term premium income was $399 billion. That makes the £3 million we need a mere 0.0011% of the industry’s total income. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for.

So, marketing managers, chiefs of HR, and CSR leads: I am going over your heads. Attention Chief Executive Officers: the Insurance Museum must be one of the few opportunities you will ever see that ticks PR, HR, and CSR boxes at once. 

Please drop me a line, because I’d love to explain how we can work together to help each other reach our common goals.

Reg Brown 

Chairman, The Insurance Museum

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