The history of the charity goes back over a hundred years. It was originally a discretionary benevolent fund, called the Civil Service Widows and Orphan’s Fund, providing extra financial support exclusively to the dependants of deceased policyholders of the Civil Service Insurance Society (CSIS). It is now an independent, incorporated charity consistently making grants exceeding £750,000 a year to a wide range of civil and public service charities and other good causes.
How it all started
The origins of the Civil Service Insurance Society can be traced back to papers written in October 1889, when the proposal was first made in the War Office to set up some sort of provident fund to provide life insurance for civil servants. At the time, the civil service pension scheme did not provide dependants’ benefits and although the Civil Service Benevolent Fund (now known as the Charity for Civil Servants) existed to help those in very severe hardship, that was not felt to be enough.
The Society was duly set up with the assistance and support of one of the major life assurance companies, and it proved possible to offer policies at significantly discounted rates. The business flourished and it has continued to trade ever since, diversifying into household, motor and travel insurance. It is now a small, but highly successful insurance intermediary, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
The Civil Service Widows and Orphans Fund was set up in 1906 to receive the profits from the sale of the life assurance policies and use them to provide extra support for the widows and orphans of deceased policyholders. The policies were generally purchased by the more poorly paid junior ranks of the civil service, and at that time when a husband died, his civil service pension died with him, often leaving the widow in severe financial hardship, even after the insurance policy pay-out.
Expanding the activities of the charity
The activities of the charity were expanded when it was first became a registered charity in 1979 and it began making substantial donations to other civil and public service charities, including the Charity for Civil Servants, the Rowland Hill Fund, the BT Benevolent Fund and the Civil Service Retirement Fellowship. Further development was hampered, however, by an obsolete governance structure and Objects which were hard to interpret.
In 2007, following a governance review by the former Trustees, the Charity Commission agreed that the activities and assets of the charity could be transferred into a new charitable company, retaining its existing name but with an up-to-date constitution and much clearer Objects which would allow the charity to be far more flexible and innovative in the way it could operate, and in the work it could do.
A new charitable company and a new name
The charitable company was incorporated on 31 October 2007 and the funds were transferred on 1 January 2008. The Objects of the charity are:
"The relief of need, hardship and distress, including (but not exclusively) by the provision of financial and other assistance to serving, former and retired civil and public servants and their dependants either directly or by making grants to other organisations which can provide financial or other support to them."
The name of the Charity was changed to CSIS Charity Fund in July 2009 to reflect its wider role and make clearer its link with the Insurance Society. The Charity has an independent board of Trustees who have complete discretion on the grants to be awarded.
The Charity’s source of income remains the trading surplus of the Insurance Society which is covenanted irrevocably to the Charity under a Deed of Covenant and the investment of its reserves.
The Civil Service Insurance Society
The Civil Service Insurance Society (CSIS) is an award winning "Not for Profit" organisation, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an insurance intermediary, which offers insurance products to Civil and Public Servants across the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1890 within the War Office, CSIS originally provided access to life assurance for Civil Servants at special rates. All surplus income was donated to a dedicated charity to support the widows and dependants of deceased policyholders and this practise continues today.
Over time the services and products offered by CSIS have changed but its original purpose of providing access to good quality, affordable insurance products continues to this day. And as its surpluses have increased and the money transferred to the charity has risen, the charity has been able to extend its grant giving to a wide range of good causes including making donations to a range of civil and public sector charities, returning the money to the communities where it was raised.
CSIS is a Society without shareholders or owners, and can therefore maximise the donations to its sister charity. All serving, former or retired Civil Servants are eligible for CSIS insurance products, as well as those from former public sector organisations such as BT and the Post Office. CSIS offers discounted Home and Motor insurance together with other insurances such as motorcycle, travel and pet all of which are underwritten by leading insurers. Full details can be found on its web site at www.csis.co.uk.
CSIS seeks a long term relationship with its policyholders and maintains its commitment to professional service from its trained and well qualified UK based team. The telephone number is 01622 766960 and the e-mail address for enquiries is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2017 CSIS was voted 'The most trusted UK motor insurance provider' for the third year running in the Moneywise Customer Service Awards. CSIS also hold the Fairer Finance "Gold Ribbon" award for Transparency with their customers.