The tide is turning towards equality in the industry – diversity head

The tide is turning towards equality in the industry – diversity head

The tide is turning towards equality in the industry – diversity head The insurance industry – long considered exclusive and non-diverse – is in flux, says Nichole Barnes Marshall, global head of inclusion at Aon.

While women – and other workplace minorities – have not always had a seat at the insurance table, Marshall says that’s finally changing. In fact, she says, right now is an exciting time to be a part of the industry.

“So the work that I’m doing, it’s not just at Aon, I know my counterparts and direct peers in brokerages, as well as all of our carriers … are making commitments to how they want to move the industry forward. This really, truly is an industry-wide effort,” she says.

“It’s going to take some time to change. This industry didn’t get to where it did overnight, so it’s not going to change overnight. But what I’m excited to see is how the industry is really convening and connecting and collaborating on this topic and really working together to move the industry forward.”

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Across the industry, at conferences and roundtables and inside most corporations, the wheels of inclusion are finally in motion. Insurance, which has been criticized for being too white and too male, is diversifying its employment practices.

“The good news is that, at no time have I seen the industry come together to really move things forward. I’ve seen individual efforts over the years, but now we [in the industry] are saying, collectively, this will truly be the rising tide that lifts all boats. That definitely gives me a sense of hope,” Marshall says.

“These are issues that every business is grappling with and I think this just requires everyone to roll up their sleeves and for no one to see themselves as a victim but to see themselves as humans and recognize that in our humanity we’ve made mistakes. And then, for this industry, we can say: here’s how we intend to move forward and try to equalize the playing field.

“As a woman and person of color that makes me feel good, knowing that there are opportunities for me and for my children – and for other women to now consider insurance as a viable career and industry that they may want to choose, because we’re putting so much emphasis on [diversity and inclusion].”

Related stories:
"It is all white men over 40": lack of diversity among insurance execs
Leveraging diversity: going in to bat for minorities to make your workplace better
  • Michael Stivik 7/5/2017 12:38:55 PM
    Let's start with third grade arithmetic. A fraction in a numerical representation of some part to a whole. It can be represented graphically by a pie chart. In a growing population, including a company's work force, the "pie" will get bigger. If nothing else changes then the increase in the parts is proportional. If there is no growth or a decrease in the pie, then in order for a smaller part to increase, then a larger part must decrease. In the workplace, and I am using this strictly for illustration purposes only, if one want to increase a particular race, gender, age group, sexual orientation, etc. then one must reduce another race, gender, age group, sexual orientation. This can be done by 1) natural attrition; 2) stating to members of the latter group set, that their job has been eliminated, have him sign a legal release giving them severance in exchange for not suing the company, then hire the target demographics sought about 31 days later. As they say in math, QED. I will take 3 weeks for every year, thank you very much!
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  • 7/5/2017 1:32:47 PM
    This article is pure bovine scatology. When I started my agency in 1998 I tried to get a contract with Travelers. The marketing rep was a friend so I contacted him. Travelers wouldn't even consider me unless I could give them $300,000 in premium the first year. They knew I couldn't so this was a nice way of saying, NO, we won't give you a contract. A few months later my friend, the marketing rep, stopped by and asked if I knew of a black female agent in town. The company was pushing to get more minority agents. There was a black female agent in town but her agency was what was referred to as a bucket shop. Her market was the bottom non standard auto. But, guess what? Travelers gave her a contract anyway and two years later they terminated her contact because the non standard auto she wrote killed their loss ratio. Many of her insured's came in my office with their ,"non renewal because agent no longer represents company". I remember when Encompass hired a black female as their CEO. I never met her but when I read the correspondence she sent out and read an article about her in "The Insurance Journal", I knew she wasn't qualified. She was gone about 2 or 3 years later. I don't care what your color or sexual orientation is, if you meet the qualifications you should get the job but I am tired of minorities getting jobs when their aren't qualified.
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  • JRalph Murray 7/5/2017 2:16:47 PM
    Your comments are very strange.
    My very first P/C appointment was by the Travelers Insurance Company in May 1967. I, have been a TIC Agent as well as with many other P/C carriers since then.
    Your mistake seems to be that you are judge mental by your narrowness of understanding your fellow non-white American.
    PLEASE remember what LBJ said about Blacks "starting 10 yds. behind the starting line".
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