UK Insurers sign up to diversity pledge

UK Insurers have launched a concerted campaign to drive diversity in the workplace as the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and 32 of its members become part of the first wave of insurance and long-term savings firms signed up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter.

The charter is designed to drive better outcomes for Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees in the workplace. It consists of five principles to ensure organisations address the barriers to recruitment and progression. Organisations that sign up to the charter commit to:

  • Appointing an Executive Sponsor for race
  • Capturing data and publicising progress
  • Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression

Huw Evans, (pic) ABI Director-General said: “Making our industry more representative of the customers we serve is vital, but we also need to focus on how we retain and develop talent and create the kind of inclusive environment that people want to be part of. Whilst we’ve made progress as an industry on issues like gender equality, we know overall that progress is too slow. It’s time to step up our efforts and it’s fantastic to see how many of our members have committed to taking action.”

Alongside signing up to the Charter, the ABI has launched a new internal inclusion strategy and set new targets for gender diversity within the organisation.

The updated two-year plan sets out the ambition to be a workplace that attracts, nurtures and retains a diverse range of talent and where all colleagues feel able to bring their whole selves to work. In addition to continuing commitments to flexible working, supporting the INvolve mentoring scheme for LGBTQ+ and Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and tracking progress on inclusion work through the employee engagement survey.

Under the strategy the ABI has committed to:

  • Achieving a 50/50 female to male split across the ABI’s senior management population by 31 December 2022
  • Using blind recruitment processes to mitigate against the risk of unconscious bias. The ABI will no longer shortlist candidates based on CVs. Longlists from recruitment agencies for senior management recruitment must have a 50/50 gender split
  • Implementing reverse mentoring for the Executive Team with junior colleagues from a range of backgrounds
  • Rolling out cultural awareness training
  • Launching a new ‘speak up’ policy so all colleagues understand expectations and know how to report any unacceptable behaviour

The ABI said it will also launch a new industry-wide flexible working and job sharing campaign early next year aimed at reducing the gender seniority gap and helping people who want to work part time progress their careers.

Sandra Kerr, Race Director, Business in the Community said: “Signing the Race at Work Charter is not just a promise to act within your own organisation. It is also a recognition that you are part of something bigger: diversity and inclusion is not defined by a logo. Today, we can see that in action as companies across the insurance sector unite in their determination to create fairer work environments so that black, Asian and ethnic minority talent can know that they belong and that they can progress and thrive.”