Dive In, the global festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance, is returning next month for its seventh year of educating and empowering insurance professionals to understand how to be active allies and champions for all. Taking place from September 21-23, this year’s Dive In will take on a hybrid format and will cover the theme of Active Allyship, touching a vast range of topics from LGBTQ+ to neurodiversity, generational differences, the work-life balance, mental health, and more.
“It’s amazing to look at how far the industry has come as we reach our seventh year of Dive In,” said Jason Groves (pictured), chair of the Dive In Steering Committee and global director of media relations at Marsh. “In 2015, hardly anyone talked about diversity and inclusion. There were some forward-thinking people. In fact, the first person I ever heard talking about the imperative of diversity and inclusion was Brian Duperreault [executive chair of AIG]. I remember being stunned and thinking: ‘Wow! If leaders like Brian Duperreault can get behind this, everyone should be able to.’”
Read next: Dive In 2021 registration is now open
Groves has been involved with Dive In from the very beginning. Diversity and inclusion is something Groves has always been passionate about “for personal and other reasons,” so when Inga Beale – former CEO of Lloyd’s of London – approached him in 2015 and asked him to get involved, he jumped at the opportunity.
Since 2015, Dive In has grown from a small four-day festival around the Lloyd’s building in London, to a global festival with events in more than 30 countries reaching over 30,000 attendees in 2020. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which put a stop to in-person networking and events, Dive In enjoyed its largest explosion of growth in 2020, tripling its attendee count (10,000 to 30,000) for its first-ever virtual festival. Dive In hopes to continue that momentum in 2021 through a hybrid virtual/in-person format.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought out so many issues, particularly around mental health, women, caring responsibilities and family obligations, race, and more,” said Groves. “Through Dive In, we’ve always given practical advice to people, which they can take back to their organizations and put into practice. It’s always been conceived as a very practical series of events, and I think people took that up last year, thinking: ‘Yes, I do want to know more.’
“That’s why this year’s theme is Active Allyship. With the Black Lives Matter movement, and various other issues that arose in 2020 around the pandemic, people posted a lot of things on social media, but […] a social media post doesn’t cut it. That’s not being an ally. The real question is: ‘What can you actually do within your workplace to make it more inclusive and to assist in promoting greater diversity?’”
Over the past year, forward-thinking companies around the world have started to advance their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Furthermore, there’s been an investor and shareholder-driven surge in environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting among corporate entities, with diversity and inclusion considered a key component of the social pillar of ESG. This has led to a shift from awareness to action, with insurers now expected to “walk the talk” when it comes to diversity and inclusion.
“The message of Dive In is that it’s for all of us who work in the industry to walk the talk,” Groves told Insurance Business. “It’s not just about saying: ‘I’m an ally.’ What are you doing to demonstrate that? How are you changing your behavior? What are you doing within your own team and within your own company to show that you’re an ally? This year’s festival will be equipping people to be more active allies across all the different areas of diversity and inclusion, which are growing by the way.
“This year, I’m really thrilled that we’ve got a couple of events that are focused on neurodiversity. The unemployment rates of people with autism are shockingly high […] but there are all sorts of roles within the industry, where people with autism could have really interesting and great careers, but we’re not thinking about how to recruit them or how to make our workplaces autism friendly. So, we’ve got a couple of sessions of talking about how we can tap this huge well of talent that’s out there.”
Dive In always looks at the traditional areas of diversity and inclusion, like gender, sexuality, and race, but every year, the festival is refreshed with new topics that are top of mind.
“The issue of trans rights has become very topical and something that people are very interested in today,” Groves commented. “Someone might read something about trans rights in the news and think: ‘I don’t really know how that relates to me, but if I was to have someone like that on my team, I wouldn’t have a clue what to do.’ And so, people want to come along to Dive In to educate themselves so that they can talk sensibly and act responsibly about issues relating to diversity and inclusion.”
This year’s Dive In is a little different to prior years. Embracing the inclusivity of virtual events, Dive In has enabled attendees to register for any events around the world, regardless of what country they’re situated in. Groves described the upcoming festival as “24-hour Dive In” and he encouraged people to attend events in different countries and learn about the various issues that colleagues are facing around the world.
“We are a global industry, and so many of us are having conversations with people all over the world all the time, so this is a real opportunity to talk to people across our industry and hear some of the things that are on top of their mind,” he said. “Attending Dive In is being part of the future of our industry. It’s about being more productive, more successful, and gaining practical tips about how you can be an active ally. It’ll be a festival to inspire people to change the way they interact with their colleagues and the wider industry.”
Find out more and register for this year’s Dive In Festival now.