CHICAGO — Tracking progress is essential in improving diversity in the insurance industry, according to several executives who spoke during a panel discussion Wednesday kicking off Business Insurance’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Conference.
“It starts with looking at our data,” said Aaisha Hamid, Washington-based assistant vice president and DE&I manager at Alliant Insurance Services.
“We’re looking at our demographic data information monthly to figure out what the overall population is at various levels, if that’s changing over time,” she said. “That’s one measure of progress right there, that we’re not just bringing in underrepresented talent, we’re actually retaining and advancing them.”
Measuring progress on initiatives is also paramount, she said.
“That’s the biggest thing; to change culture,” she said. “The behaviors have to change… At the end of every single program, we give tactical prompts or actions that leaders can take with their teams to move forward. And then, as a form of accountability, we survey (workers) to figure out how many leaders actually took those actions.”
Mike Hessling, CEO for North America at Rollings Meadows, Illinois-based Gallagher Bassett Services Inc., a subsidiary of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., said data goes beyond tracking hiring practices; tallying engagement is another way to ensure workers are thriving.
“We look at what’s the perception among our team members,” he said. “We look at engagement scores and, in particular, engagement around the topic of belonging. … As we looked at populations within our overall organization, certain populations didn’t quite share that same sentiment.”
At first Black workers, for example, “didn’t have nearly the same engagement scores and, in particular, ‘belonging’ scores as the rest of our team,” said Mr. Hessling, adding that that percentage of Black workers who felt they belonged increased by more than 20% in recent surveys.
Todd Campbell, Atlanta-based president and CEO of Builders Insurance Group, said companies that continue to show progress will gain leverage with younger insurance executives.
“One of the No. 1 questions we get asked by people coming off college campuses is: What are your commitments around (diversity and inclusion)?” he said. “So whether or not those in positions of leadership today are committed, I can tell you that the next generation of talent is incredibly committed to this topic. And that’s a winning area for everybody to focus on, looking to grow your business.”