• Mina Tezcan, Director |
  • Mel Newton, Partner |
4 min read

Even as we have been hearing about the growing importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all sectors, including insurance, the pace of change continues to be challenging.

According to the KPMG CEO Outlook - UK - KPMG United Kingdom , 74% of insurance CEOs believe DEI progress has moved too slowly in the business world, and 74% also believe scrutiny of DEI performance will continue to increase over the next 3 years.

However, we have seen success with increased efforts to boost diversity and inclusion. In the UK, the Insurance Women’s Inclusivity network, the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network and the ABI’s Inclusion Blueprint have been impactful.

We have seen female representation at board level increase to 32%, and more companies now offer career support for ethnic minority colleagues along with many more initiatives focused on social mobility and neurodiversity. All of it counts for the industry in achieving its goals.

But there’s still a long way to go

Compared to other industries, insurance and financial services lags behind in DEI efforts. For the past three years, the number of women entering insurance has remained static, while only one in four are members of the executive team.

The story is no different for ethnic representation – in fact it has fallen since 2017. When it comes to LGBTQ+ inclusion, even though we have more LGBTQ+ support groups within companies, fewer organisations now have specific LGBTQ+ inclusion policies.

In measuring how far we have come and how far we have to go, collection and use of DEI-related metrics has been crucial. Today, we have more metrics related to social mobility, disability and neurodiversity. But there’s still inconsistency in how these metrics are collected. What’s required is a comprehensive approach that accounts for key metrics and contributes to a cohesive strategy.

Paving a path with a blueprint

The ABI's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Blueprint defines ambitions and pathways for DEI progress. We know that going forward, clear objectives, measurement and programmes will be critical to drive real progress and help make insurance a diverse, equitable and inclusive sector of the UK economy. It talks about making the workforce more representative and recognises common barriers to inclusion.

It’s important to note that diversity, equity and inclusion cannot be packaged as a single issue with a single solution. Each objective carries its own cause and context. It’s important to create a plan for each accordingly.

With this in mind, DEI priorities are centred around three themes:

  • Attract: Ensure that talent acquisition is open to potential employees from all backgrounds, experiences and seniority. This can be done by having a range of entry points and mid-career opportunities for different skillsets.
  • Grow: Foster a culture for people to thrive and support them in significant life events.
  • Advance: Have consistent metrics to understand and guide DEI strategy. Help employees feel comfortable sharing data about themselves to inform and shape decision making. Become transparent in sharing progress.

What five steps can you take to embed a diverse and inclusive culture?

Are you struggling with how to get started? Or do you need some guidance on how to continue to build out your DEI strategy? Here are the five steps you can take to achieve your DEI goals:

  1. Confirm the case for change and engage your leadership: Make sure that the intention is not just rhetoric and there is both understanding and alignment across the leadership team that this is a strategic intent (both around the board table and the coffee machine).
  2. Baseline your DEI indicators : Use industry recognised measures and take inclusive action to encourage employees to share data.
  3. Identify your priorities and align to your business vision and strategy : Prioritise and drive the DEI programme to support the business strategy and overall organisational performance indicators. Some DEI characteristics will vary in importance to individual businesses depending on geography, skills, cultures, etc.
  4. Set up your DEI programme as a strategic priority with the necessary sponsorship, budget, resources and measurable outcomes : Inclusivity will not happen on its own, and measures are only useful if we are trying to change them. Set up DEI as a programme of change in the same way as any other transformation programme if you really want to see change happen. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it did get built!
  5. Track progress and celebrate successes : Achieving inclusivity is a challenge to all of us and we should celebrate successes and champions that drive change along the way.

The small steps organisations take today will help move the dial on diversity and inclusion for the industry. Download out latest report, Reshaping DEI in Insurance to discover more about building your business with greater diversity, equity and inclusion.