Insurers ‘Coming Together’ To Tackle Diversity And Inclusion Goals
The insurance industry faced a racial reckoning of sorts following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
The Black Lives Matter movement was growing and clashes with police were becoming weekly news items. Following Floyd's death, mass protests erupted across the nation. Big insurers, with an unfortunate racial history of their own, could have laid low and avoided the simmering controversy.
Instead, leading insurance CEOs released an extraordinary statement of support for the Black community. It read, in part: “We stand committed to sustained partnership in the community to drive solutions to address systemic inequality. And we stand committed to fostering diversity and inclusion for our employees and the workforce.”
The statement was followed by action. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners established the Special Committee on Race and Insurance, for example.
LIMRA is doing its part, with a session today titled Moving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forward and Together at the 2021 Distribution Conference for Financial Services. It is important to keep the conversation going, said moderator Liz Caswell, associate director, markets research for LIMRA/LOMA.
"The objective of the session is to help the leading firms that are listening to this discussion think about where they are with their own [diversity and inclusion] efforts," Caswell said, "and how they might want to gauge their progress moving forward."
Any Move Forward Helps
If there's a positive aspect to the D&I movement, it's that doing anything moves the ball forward, Caswell noted. Action is the most important thing.
"I think it's hard to misstep in this space," she said. "Frankly, any kind of forward movement is helpful. 2020 made a difference in terms of putting it back in the boardroom and at the C-level of prioritization."
Many insurance company heads have signed the PwC action pledge, Caswell said, a commitment to D&I training and discussions. Other companies and organizations are creating executive positions devoted to D&I. In September, the NAIC hired Evelyn Boswell as its first diversity, equity, and inclusion director.
Prudential stands out as a diversity leader in the industry, Caswell noted. The insurer is aggressive in networking to attract candidates of color for its openings and has won several awards and honors for those efforts.
Other insurers are undertaking similar efforts with greater intensity, Caswell said.
"Now it is getting that focus and real energy and investment in mindshare at the top of the house," she said. "And that's really accelerating the changes that were already underway, but perhaps at a less intensive level."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.
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