The morning’s mail brought us a manila envelope with no return address.
Inside was a copy of the April issue of InsuranceNewsNet Magazine, with the subscriber’s mailing label torn off. Attached to the front cover was a sticky note on which the sender used an expletive and called us “losers.” The sender then told us what we can do with what they called “your critical race theory and other anti-American, leftist politics.”
The reader was clearly upset over April’s cover feature on the industry’s efforts to increase diversity while confronting its tarnished history on race.
It wasn’t the first time we drew reader ire for our coverage of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry.
Our reporting on the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Week in early April generated a negative response from our audience. There were complaints about the industry focusing on “social justice” instead of talent, ambition, education and performance. One of our online readers even said they were considering whether they wanted to continue their NAIFA membership over this.
Another reader canceled his subscription after complaining that a column in our May issue was — in his words — “racist and offensive.” The topic of the column? Black women advisors telling why they believe Black women make good advisors as well as good prospects.
We welcome reader feedback of all types, and I would like to see more of it. But I am disappointed by the amount of negative feedback we have received over our coverage on diversity within our industry.
INN’s interest in diversity is nothing new. We are well aware of the industry’s image of being “pale, male and stale.”
“It has always been our mission to support growth in the industry, and where does that happen? With the next generation, which is younger and more diverse when you follow the population trends and wealth,” InsuranceNewsNet Publisher Paul Feldman says.
This discussion on diversity is a good thing for this industry. It’s not about being “woke.” We need more people in this business, and we need to reach and help more consumers protect and grow their wealth. And what is wrong with encouraging people of different racial and ethnic groups to enter the industry and find success in it? What is wrong with encouraging people of different racial and ethnic groups to buy the products you sell and use the services you offer?
If our industry is going to keep from dying off and fading away, we must find ways to recruit professionals who can bring a fresh perspective and who reflect our nation’s changing demographics. And if you truly believe in the products you sell and the services you provide, why shouldn’t everyone have access to these amazing products?
Last year, I sat in on an online presentation sponsored by the organization Females and Finance in which two Black women who are financial advisors serving a primarily Black clientele shared their views on a number of issues. Something one of the advisors said jumped out at me. She said that if the problem of generational poverty in the Black community could be solved, a number of other social problems would be solved along with it.
What helps families build wealth and pass that wealth on to the next generation? Homeownership is one thing. Life insurance and related products are another.
To those who are working to help individuals and families of all colors have a secure financial future, thank you.
And to our readers, whether you agree with our coverage or not, we welcome and encourage your comments, feedback and ideas for future articles. You are always welcome to share your views at [email protected].