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Why the industry’s D&I journey is a game of snakes and ladders

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Topics: Diversity & Inclusion

The insurance industry has made some significant strides towards greater diversity and inclusion (D&I) over the past two decades, but there is still work to be done...

... And a new generation of insurance professionals is taking the lead in shaping the industry of the future.

 

This is according to a panel of experts speaking on Day One of the Marsh McLennan Rising Professionals’ Global Forum, hosted by Pauline Miller, Chief Equity Officer, EMEA, Dentsu and former Head of Talent Development and Inclusion, Lloyd’s.

 

Removing barriers

The Market is a different place today than when he first started out in the early 1990s observed Ash Bathia, Chief Executive at Probitas 1492, and he feels encouraged by that. But there is still “subconscious bias” and work to be done.

 

Facing discrimination in his early career gave him the determination to succeed, he told delegates, and he now feels a responsibility to do his part to encourage others coming up through the ranks.

 

Leaders must set the tone from the top of the organisation, he said. “It starts with the CEO and senior leadership team. It’s got to come from your heart at a leadership level and trickle down through the organisation.”

 

Lucy Clarke, President, Marsh Specialty and Global Placement, Marsh said many aspects of working life had improved since she started her career. At that time, there had been few senior female role models in the industry and a lack of flexible working.

 

The pandemic has demonstrated there are different ways of working, said Clarke. “You have to work hard, but how you commit to your career will drive your opportunities.

 

New generation, new values

Ultimately, DE&I is critical for a successful business to ensure you can attract and retain the best talent, thought Patrick Tiernan, Chief of Markets, Lloyd’s. “Your legacy starts today,” he told delegates. “Don’t wait to make a difference - understand your moral compass and use it every day. “

 

“We’ve got to progress with the times. In 20 to 30 years’ time when some of you are on this stage, my hope is that DE&I won’t be one of the challenges you will be discussing – it will be a new challenge.”

 

Tiernan acknowledged the insurance industry had been “too tolerant of bad behaviour” in the past and said Lloyd’s had taken “a firm, appropriate and public response to that”.

 

Summing up and thanking the panellists, Miller had her own tips for the audience. Seek out feedback wherever you can find it, she advised.

 

“Feedback is the most powerful thing you’ll ever get,” she said. “I remember receiving my first piece of feedback – it was the hardest – I cried. But you need to learn how to receive it and you need to go and seek it.”

 

“The reality is, you are the face of insurance in ten to 20 years’ time – you are the superheroes of insurance - and the thing about superheroes is that together, their power is even greater – think Avengers. So come together, bring your voices together and see the industry change together.”

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