American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Susan Neely announced today the launch of a new initiative to advance economic empowerment and racial equity.
"Life insurers believe that all Americans should have access to tools and resources that will help them thrive and succeed," Neely said. "ACLI and its members are asserting their commitment to this goal and presenting concrete, outcome-changing steps for economic empowerment in financially underserved communities throughout the nation."
Presenting the initiative at the ACLI Annual Conference 2020, Neely said the kick-off of this work is marked by ACLI's Board of Directors being among the first association boards to have all its members sign the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion. Life insurance industry leaders were among the founders and original signers of the Pledge, which aims to expand diversity in corporate leadership.
ACLI's Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative focuses on four key areas:
- Expanding access to affordable financial security in underserved markets. The life insurance industry is committed to building a more culturally diverse advisor community through recruitment, education and training. In addition, ACLI is working with regulators to break down unnecessary impediments to agent licensing so that more local advisors/financial professionals will be available to help people in their own communities. The industry also is looking to technology to help reach underserved markets and put more financial protection and security in the hands of more Americans.
- Advancing diversity and inclusion within companies and on corporate boards. Each member of ACLI's Board of Directors has signed the Pledge for CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion as part of their commitment to bring meaningful change in the business community. ACLI will encourage all of its members to make the same commitment.
- Economic empowerment through financial education. ACLI will form impactful financial education partnerships, like with the American College of Financial Services' "Four Steps Forward" initiative, aimed at achieving economic empowerment through financial education. The partnerships will be focused on moving more households out of poverty.
- Expanding investments in underserved communities. ACLI will advocate for tax incentives and other state and federal measures that promote investments in underserved communities.
Neely said life insurers are uniquely positioned to lead this effort and achieve outcomes because of their proven role in establishing financial protection and security for middle-income individuals and families.
"These are actions we can and must take to address racial and economic inequities that have plagued our country for too long," Neely said. "Through company action, smart partnerships, legislative and regulatory initiatives, we will help all Americans build habits and knowledge about money that lead to financial security."
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SOURCE American Council of Life Insurers