As leaders in the insurance industry, our collective commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not just a moral imperative - it's a strategic one.
The pursuit of DEI is an ongoing journey, and as we prepare for 2024 it is essential that we both reflect on our progress and plan actionable steps to foster a more inclusive environment across the industry.
Here’s what organisations can do to make 2024 a landmark year for DEI in the insurance sector.
Begin by diving into your data and analysing your pay gap reports and personnel demographics. Recognising any disparities in gender, ethnicity and other identifiers within your workforce can help to pinpoint areas for growth in 2024. This is a critical starting point for any DEI journey.
Wayne Page, Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Brit says, “Pledge your support and set measurable goals so you know when you’ve achieved success. And success doesn’t have to be grand; it may be writing or tweaking an existing policy or hosting an event. Decide on one thing that you want to achieve and make sure it gets done.”
It’s all about the culture set from the top of the organisation. The board and exec should commit to personal DEI goals, such as attending more network events or setting specific targets for DEI hiring within their departments. Their actions will cause impact and ripples throughout the entire organisation.
Janis Stylianou, Chief HR Officer at Amwins Global Risks says, “It’s important for leaders to create an environment from the top down where people feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. This doesn’t just mean celebrating Black History Month and changing your logo to a rainbow version during Pride Month, for example. It’s about so much more than that – making sure your policies are inclusive, making sure there are support networks in place for minorities, calling out ‘banter’ immediately when it becomes inappropriate, and celebrating the benefits having a diverse workforce can bring.”
Review their achievements in 2023, celebrate these milestones and seek ways to bolster support for the upcoming year. Transparency is key, so share the successes in end-of-year communications to align the entire company with your 2024 DEI objectives.
How often was DEI mentioned on your Intranet, blogs, social media and other communication channels in 2023 – both internally and externally? Do you need to amplify your efforts in 2024?
Check with your Marketing team to align the organisation's stance on Diversity and Inclusion with the outward-facing brand and communications, as well as your Internal communications. It's crucial for your business to authentically address and discuss these issues through your marketing channels if you truly take them seriously.
Janine Heath, Head of Talent Management and DEI at CNA Hardy says “It is important to focus on an inclusive culture and create a culture where individuals can be themselves. Firms have a responsibility to help leaders/managers to understand their role in creating that culture and how we then attract diverse talent to the industry and retain them.”
You need to involve your employees. Make sure employees are informed about internal and external networks through the company intranet and newsletters. Leaders must regularly discuss DEI topics, both within the company and the wider industry.
Joanne Payne, Chief People Officer at PIB Group says, “Listen to their people. PIB Belonging means that everyone is included, visible, heard and considered. Everyone feels like a full member of a larger community where they can thrive.”
With so many opportunities to work with others in the industry, whether through the Industry bodies such as the CII, the ABI and BIBA, through the cross-industry networks such as iCAN, Link, The Gender Inclusion Network and others, or through industry events such as the Dive In Festival, there are many ways to work with others outside of the firm to help you move your strategy forwards.
Gemma Jackson, UK Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at RSA says, “I think one impactful way we can influence DEI in 2024 is by fostering an inclusive equitable culture together through targeted collaborative initiatives that focus on increasing representation and embedding belonging.
We have a duty to shape the inclusivity of our sector collectively, holding each other to account and sharing resources. Together we can do more!”
Consider leveraging specialised DEI-focused job platforms such as our iCAN jobs board, look at inclusive recruitment best practices, hold more insight days, engage in industry events, work with other organisations and support your talent staff in their networking and training.
There is an abundance of talent out there, and by reevaluating your strategy, you can significantly widen your window of opportunity for discovering talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. This is an area that the team at iCAN is passionate about and is looking forward to supporting firms with in 2024.
Wayne Page, Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Brit says, “Try something different. Whether that’s a new specialist partner to help build your strategy or a new recruitment partner, even if you’ve tried before – the time could be right this time. “
As individuals, we can all strive towards a more inclusive environment within the insurance industry. Here’s some ideas on what you can do in 2024:
Engagement starts with you. Join an internal network to understand and contribute to your ERGs' initiatives. Similarly, connect with external networks like iCAN to gain broader perspectives on DEI.
Engage in conversations with colleagues from various backgrounds to learn from their lived experiences. This empathy and understanding is vital in creating an inclusive workplace.
There are lots of resources out there to help you learn, so take the time to read, research and comprehend the various challenges and opportunities that DEI presents.
As we move forward, let us do so with the understanding that DEI is not a destination but a path we walk continuously. Our actions, as a collective and as individuals, will echo throughout our industry and beyond. Let’s make 2024 a year where we not only envision but enact a more equitable and inclusive future in the insurance world.
To keep up to date with everything iCAN and our impact for 2024, follow us on LinkedIn here.