What makes Australian DEI initiatives unique?

What makes Australian DEI initiatives unique? | Insurance Business Australia

What makes Australian DEI initiatives unique?

Over the years, the insurance industry has seen Australia's efforts to advocate for gender equality, honour Aboriginal inhabitants, encourage communication in native and immigrant languages, support LGBTQIA+ communities, celebrate various religions, and establish outstanding amenities for people with disabilities.

This year's Insurance Business Australia (IB) 5-star DEI 2022 award winners shared what makes Australia stand out regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

In an interview with IB, Tim Jarman, president of Crawford & Company, one of this year's winners, highlighted Australia's focus on helping migrants and promoting equality for women.

“Many Australians are naturally more accepting and open because they are essentially part of that diverse group themselves,” said Jarman, who moved from England to Australia more than 20 years ago.

Focusing on gender equality, Jarman said Australia had shown its commitment to supporting gender equality by appointing a record number of women to the Australian parliament and a First Nations female minister for Indigenous Australians. However, he emphasised that diversity also revolves around culture and background.

“Gender diversity is very important,” Jarman told IB. “Don't get me wrong; I'm not trying to downplay that. But diversity is also about diversity of culture and background, which is very important in Australia and includes Australia's First Nations people.

“It is about [the] diversity of thought and ideas. Having people with different backgrounds and different life experiences within your organization is critical if you are going to have [a] diversity of thought. This also extends to the LGBTQIA+ community.”

A leader from another 5-star DEI 2022 award winner, General Reinsurance Australia, shared that Australia stands out among other regions because it has “a good appreciation of the power of acknowledgement.”

“For example, our New Zealand branch uses the email sign-off ‘Nga Mihi’ from the Māori language,” said Neal Mullen, managing director of property and casualty reinsurance operations for Australia and New Zealand at General Reinsurance Australia. “These things become conversation starters in a global business where someone not familiar with this topic expecting an English greeting asks a question and learns something new.”

See all the winners of IB's 5-star DEI 2022 award winners and their standout DEI initiatives by reading the report here.