Closing the Insurance Talent Gap: Here’s what Needs to Be Done
Ahead of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s International Inclusion in Insurance Forum, set for June 15-17, Dawn Miller, Regional Executive Officer, Chubb Central Region, discusses how the industry needs to refine its story to attract new talent.
Public perceptions of insurance have long been a hindrance to the industry attracting and recruiting new talent. Insurance does not sell itself well to young people who don’t understand what we do, the impact we make, and the security we bring to nearly every aspect of daily life.
We need to encourage potential candidates, as well as the public, to recognize the social good that the insurance industry fosters and the impact a united industry can have on changing the world for the better. With an image adjustment and realignment of recruiting practices, what we accomplish with this new talent can be extraordinary — fueling innovation around the world and driving social mobility for all.
To those potential candidates who never considered a career in insurance, and particularly to young professionals who are looking for a career in an industry that furthers the public good: If you want a job where you can play a part in benefiting society, consider a career in insurance.
We work in an industry that touches on nearly every aspect of life, from financial services to global logistics to life sciences and more. Insurance is vital to our societies and economies as we are the critical reinforcement behind the businesses that keep our world turning. Entrepreneurs, textile factories, healthcare companies, not-for-profits — insurance exists to shoulder their risk so these businesses can focus on operations and powering our global economy.
The potential to do tremendous good exists in our industry. For example, to support efforts to combat the global pandemic, Chubb recently joined with Marsh to collaborate with the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to help provide up to $150 million in insurance for the COVAX No Fault Compensation Program. This initiative is designed to cover compensation payments to eligible individuals in the 92 lower-income countries and economies, known as the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) eligible economies.
This is just one example of how our industry is making a difference. The work we do not only supports businesses around the world, but it also impacts people of all races, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, geographies and more.
The Value in Diversity
As new candidates see the value and social good in our industry and join our ranks, we will continue to cultivate a new diverse workforce that is engaged, comfortable among each other and inspired by the work they are doing. Moreover, this new and diverse workforce breeds innovation and advances profitability.
“The most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability,” analysts from McKinsey & Company said in a 2020 report. They found companies with a high representation of gender diversity in leadership were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies studied in the bottom 25 percent for gender diversity. And, in terms of ethnic and cultural diversity, the study found that companies in the top 25 percent performed 36 percent better on profitability than those in the bottom 25 percent.
When it comes to innovation, there is evidence to support this theory as well. Boston Consulting Group reported that companies with more diversity on their management teams reported higher innovation revenue. “Nearly half of the revenue of companies with more diverse leadership comes from products and services launched in the past three years,” the authors wrote. “That kind of turbo charged innovation means these companies are better able to quickly adapt to changes and customer demand.”
I’ve lived and worked in different countries around the world. I’ve immersed myself in their cultures and getting to know how the people live, think and work. In Switzerland, many of my colleagues prefer to talk business over a hike rather than on the golf course. My years spent in the Middle East and Africa allowed me to learn more about Ramadan and how to be sensitive to cultural observances in the workplace. What I’ve learned over the years is the best way to approach different cultures is through improved understanding. Just because someone speaks English for example, or looks similar to you, does not mean they are the same. We’re all different. One of the best ways to gain that understanding is to show deep curiosity while undertaking your own education of culture nuances.
Whether we’re talking about cultural diversity, socioeconomic, gender or racial diversity, the different perspectives a business has around it will only make its output richer and more aligned to the diverse array of consumers it serves. To encourage this, we will need to continually expose our employees and those around us to these new perspectives. Our goal must be to develop a better understanding and appreciation of diversity and the impact it can have on innovation and creativity.
The insurance industry is making progress in terms of expanding diversity and inclusion, but this is a constant journey. This is an evolution not a revolution. Organizations like the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation have helped to guide us with actionable advice from renowned insurance experts who have seen the success of D&I. Events like IICF’s International Inclusion in Insurance Forum are unique opportunities to learn about the impact diversity has had on our industry, and to discuss the future of diversity in insurance. More and more companies are placing a growing focus on recruiting, mentoring, putting the ladder down to the next generation of leaders, and reaching across differences to build a patchwork towards future success.
At Chubb, we have launched initiatives aimed at attracting new candidates from a variety of cultural, socio-economic and other backgrounds and we have a variety of initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our workplace.
We also recognize the value in introducing potential candidates to the insurance industry early. In the UK, we’re working with Founders4Schools and Maths4Girls to introduce the idea of a career in insurance, showing these students the fun and challenges in using maths for risk modeling and explaining the global impact insurance can have.
We’ve also partnered with other insurers through Inclusivity Partners to launch a return-to-work program to welcome back talent who have gone on hiatus from the industry for personal reasons, like raising a family or caring for a loved one. With this program, we provide these talented and skilled individuals with the tools and resources they need to get back to a career in insurance and build on it.
As to keeping our existing employees engaged and assured they are in a welcoming environment, we’ve launched Allied Training to help us all understand the challenges that accompany lifestyles, cultures and backgrounds different than our own. In addition, we’ve introduced focused efforts for employees to support disability confidence, mental health awareness and more.
Ours is an industry that recognizes risk and value – particularly when applied to overlooking this untapped potential. Harnessing these different perspectives by challenging existing parameters will help us to see through a different lens and not only lead us to reshape the insurance industry, but also to drive social mobility around the world.