The insurance industry is generally considered to be male-dominated and uninspiring. Experts were asked whether it is time to unite and bring considerable change to the situation.
Chris Mackinnon, Country Manager, Lloyd's Australia, spoke regarding the matter. He stated that introducing the best possible talent to the business, and also keeping hold of them. His viewpoint is that targets have to be set for evaluating progress, and hence targets are not negative in any way. According to him, targets were not quite effective without being the constituent of a cultural change, on the exercise of strategic improvisation of inclusion and diversity, and of bias that is unconscious. He stated that firms can achieve amazing achievements, with the ardent management of talent.
Mackinnon further explained that unconscious bias was everywhere, and the need for informed action for continually challenging one’s own biases, in regards to matters such as hirings and promotions.
Vivek Bhatia Former managing director and CEO, ICare, believes that diversity and a culture of inclusivity are essential for the communities and businesses to manifest their perceptions. Speaking on the subject from a personal viewpoint, he states that wants his offsprings to have equal opportunities, regardless of their identity and gender.
Bhatia is not a fan of targets for diversity as he considers them to be symbolic. He is of the view that individuals must exhibit their talents with merit, and not have the feeling that they are fulfilling an allocation. He explained that targets might generate enhanced diversity but are not really the driving forces behind workplaces with inclusivity. According to him, the focus of his organisation is to challenge unfairness, rather than breeding it.
Ahranee Vijayaseelan, Special counsel, Hall & Wilcox, views that the insurance industry will gain advantages from increased diversity. She explains that according to studies, organisations with significant diversity, outperform the ones without diversity. The insurance industry has a long way to go despite its progress. To shed light on gender diversity she offered the example of women in her industry. While half of the workers are women, only about 12% of them held positions at the senior management level.
She considers diversity targets to be a noble concept, as the results have been great. However, just setting targets are not adequate for facing diversity challenges. According to her, companies need to cultivate a culture which openly welcomes and accepts workplace diversity. This will include ranks of C-suite.
The Readiness for Change
Upwards of 70% among 3000 professionals in the insurance industry are of the belief that cultural inclusivity needs to be adopted by firms, to grab and keep the most talented employees. Dive In, the global inclusion and diversity festival was the venue of the survey. In another conclusive finding of the survey, at least two-thirds of the total respondents wanted their organisations to step up efforts for enhancing inclusion and diversity, with respect to mental health, LGBT, and gender. Inga Beale, the CEO, Lloyd, responded to the survey findings by stating that great strides are being made in the insurance sector, to bring about cultural changes. She did acknowledge that although significant progress was being made by insurance firms to bring in and keep diverse workforces, more needed to be done.
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