Aviva threatens to cut ties with firms bucking diversity

Insurer plans to end deals with over a dozen companies

Aviva threatens to cut ties with firms bucking diversity

Insurance News

By Louie Bacani

British insurance giant Aviva has threatened to sever its partnerships with companies that don’t espouse gender diversity.
According to a report by The Sunday Times, Aviva plans to terminate contracts with “more than a dozen” companies that fail to promote women to senior positions. The businesses include recruitment firms, suppliers and specialist providers of insurance services.
In a letter to the partner firms, Aviva human resources chief Sarah Morris reportedly said that the companies were “critically placed to drive the change that is needed in future talent pipelines.” She also said that publicly backing women’s initiatives would give them a “competitive edge.”

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Morris told The Sunday Times that Aviva would be “willing to consider ending our ongoing relationship if our partner firms don’t share our values on this.” She said the insurer sent the letter to the companies two months ago and had received favourable responses.
Aviva’s warning was intended for companies that had failed to commit to gender diversity initiatives such as the 30% Club campaign, which Aviva signed up to in May 2016.
“Our ambition is that our workforce – at all levels – reflects our increasingly diverse customers and communities around the world,” Morris said in a previous statement. “Diversity of thought, experience and backgrounds are critical ingredients in our view; we simply believe that enabling all of our people to be themselves at work is the right thing to do.”
Launched in the UK in 2010, the 30% Club is a group of chairs and CEOs that seek to create gender balance at all levels of their organisations. It aims to achieve a minimum of 30% women on FTSE-100 executive committees and FTSE-350 boards by 2020.
“If we are to sharpen our competitive edge, innovate and create the products our diverse range of customers want, then we must attract and keep a diverse range of talented people and make sure our workforce better reflects the society it serves,” Aviva CEO Mark Wilson previously said.
“So it’s just good business sense to have strong capable women leaders throughout Aviva, not least on the Group Executive, where we have already hit the 30% goal,” he added.
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