Leaders from government agencies and insurers alike acknowledged the current problem.
Insurance industry diversity challenges were recently addressed at the WSIA 2020 Virtual Annual marketplace.
The Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) holds the event annually.
The event coincided with the WSIA’s announcement of its formation of the Insurance Industry Diversity Foundation (IIDF). The goal of the IIDF is “to promote and attract diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation and disability and to influence meaningful progress in the diversity of the insurance industry and its talent pipeline.”
The panel discussion took place virtually and remains available on the official WSIA website as a webcast recording for its members. It began with an introductory video in which a number of leaders across various portions of the industry gave their perspectives and beliefs about inclusion and diversity.
The event acknowledged profound insurance industry diversity challenges and the failure of the status quo.
“All of us are shaped by our culture, our background and our personalities. That’s really the core of diverse thinking,” said Bryan Sanders, president of Markel Specialty and WSIA President. “If we can bring together people who think differently from one another, we can create conversations that stimulate new ideas and drive innovation. That is what our industry is all about, and why the WSIA Board of Directors and I are excited to launch the Insurance Industry Diversity Foundation and support its development”
Axis Capital US division CEO Carlton Manor explained that inclusion and diversity need to begin at an organization’s top. “The company must make it clear that diversity matters and is critical to the future success of the business,” he said. “When companies are committed to hiring, training, promoting, and retaining diverse talent, that usually results in a healthy work environment, and improved performance levels.”
Following many other speakers and a discussion of insurance industry diversity challenges through time and up to the present, all the panelists agreed that while small steps forward were better than no steps, it was the companies that had appointed executives with a primary mission of improving workplace equity that were becoming the leaders in establishing a diverse workforce.