Liberty Mutual SVP on why DE&I is "the right thing to do"

Liberty Mutual SVP on why DE&I is "the right thing to do" | Insurance Business America

Liberty Mutual SVP on why DE&I is "the right thing to do"

Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) in insurance is quite simply “the right thing to do,” according to Mark Morneau (pictured), SVP and general manager, national insurance risk management, Liberty Mutual Insurance. Morneau is a passionate advocate for DE&I both internally at Liberty Mutual and in the wider insurance industry. He will be speaking at Insurance Business America’s upcoming Women in Insurance Atlanta conference in his capacity as an ally, mentor and champion.

When asked why these themes are so important to him, Morneau replied: “I’ve been with Liberty Mutual for almost 21-years, and during that time, I’ve reported directly to many female leaders, who have been personally involved in the advancement of my career. The statistics clearly show that women are under-represented in leadership roles – not by their own choosing, of course – but it’s unfortunate. What better way to give back than to support those who have supported me and helped me to advance my career?”  

Core to the management system at Liberty Mutual is an expectation around coaching and development of the entire staff, Morneau explained. In terms of his own personal involvement, Morneau has chosen to play more of a champion role versus a mentor.

“My view of a mentor is someone that provides wisdom, direction, and consult, but a champion is someone who takes proactive action, opens up their own personal networks for the people that they’re working with, and works in partnership to achieve a specific outcome,” he told Insurance Business. “I think being a champion takes a higher level of commitment because it’s about supporting and driving an outcome.

“If I am mentoring somebody that has potential, and they have made it very clear that they are committed to growing their career, moving up the ladder, and they’ve shown consistent results in doing that - I think it’s the champion’s responsibility to not only provide direction, but to proactively engage decision-makers in order to support that person and make things happen. Not everybody has the DNA to become a champion, in my opinion, but we definitely need more of them.”

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In 2021, Liberty Mutual is expanding its focus on ‘men as allies,’ and encouraging more male employees to engage with ERGs and become champions for colleagues. Morneau works hard to encourage his male peers to support DE&I initiatives – the benefits of which are “abundantly clear,” he said.

“Data shows that the more diverse and inclusive we are as an organization, the more innovative we’ll become, and the better outcomes we’ll generate both operationally and financially,” Morneau said. “I think it’s common sense that if we believe in that, we should all aspire to get involved with DE&I in order to achieve that ultimate outcome. It’s just the right thing to do – not only on a personal level (we’re all looking to achieve goals in life), but we can also achieve wonderful business outcomes.

“Supporting DE&I is absolutely not a zero-sum game where one person loses out and somebody else wins. Liberty Mutual is a growing organization, we aspire to be a top three global P&C insurance carrier, and there is room for an enormous amount of people in our organization as we continue to grow. The way I think about it is – and my leader Tracy Ryan [president of Global Risk Solutions, North America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and fellow speaker at Women in Insurance Atlanta] says this all the time – we need to lower the ladder, and lift those up that want to climb the ladder because we have plenty of room on the next level.”

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Top-down engagement in DE&I initiatives is critically important, according to Morneau. One thing that Liberty Mutual has done in order to encourage employee engagement is create more accountability around advancing DE&I within the organization. The firm has increased transparency on its DE&I data, and it is setting goals and sharing those goals with employees. Leaders within the organization are also tasked with meeting specific objectives that meet Liberty Mutual’s DE&I expectations, and there are incentives for leaders that – in the words of Morneau – “walk the walk”.

“I truly believe that Liberty Mutual is on the cutting edge when it comes to DE&I,” Morneau added. “Prior to opening our formal DE&I office in 2013, a lot of the work was well underway, and we also have the right cultural DNA to succeed at this. Our mission is helping people live safer, more secure lives; our bedrock principles are treating people with dignity and respect; and the fact that we have a socially responsible product in insurance, which helps people put their lives back together - the combination of all that means we have the right ingredients underpinning our culture to be ready for the DE&I journey.”

Hear more about what it means to become a champion for the next generation by joining us at Insurance Business America’s Women in Insurance Atlanta virtual conference on April 13, 2021. You can register by clicking here.