’It’s a question of the industry learning how to do it – that’s where the pause factor is,’ says chief people officer 

The insurance industry is showing a “great desire” to fully embrace diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) – but is “probably behind where it really wants to be”.

That was according to Martyn Worsley, chief people officer of privately-owned global insurance firm Lockton, who issued the warning during the firm’s Power of Diversity event, hosted at Tate Britain, last week (7 June 2023).

Worsley said it was important to be “stronger together” and events like this can provide a platform for relationships and learnings to flourish. 

However, having worked in “multiple different sectors” he said that “if we’re very honest, the insurance sector is probably behind where it really wants to be”.

Considering how the insurance industry often stresses the importance of DEI, Worsley was asked why there is still much more room for growth.

He said the reason was because “the insurance industry is going through an inflection and change point”.

“It’s not a question in my mind of does it want to [or] is it able to, it’s a question of the industry learning how to do it – that’s where the pause factor is,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people with a great desire really wanting to move it forward, but questioning well, ’how do I do this’.”

’Exponential change’

Lockton began its three-year partnership with art gallery family Tate Britain in November 2022, with the aim of delivering a “shared agenda of promoting artistic risk-taking, community engagement and access to art for all”.

The partnership encompasses three exhibitions at Tate Britain – from October 2023 the duo will also support an expanded community programme at the gallery.

For its latest event, Lockton and Tate highlighted artist and filmmaker Sir Isaac Julien’s show What Freedom is to Me, which – spanning across 40 years – investigates the movement of people across different continents, times and spaces.

On the night, Lockton Europe chief executive EJ Hentenaar said Lockton’s “journey of diversity in action” is down to the “power of our people” and that they were “at the core of everything we do”.

Jonathan Hackett, partner at Lockton Global Real Estate and Construction, added: “We empower our associates, our people and our clients to get involved with our journey.

”We’ve got clients here tonight – our real estate charities – that are focused on bringing ethnic minorities into the real estate industry.”

Spekaing about DEI in the insurance sector, he explained that brokers engaging in cross industry collaboration would give them the opportunity to think “how [they] can help clients on their journey and learn from different industries rather than just focusing on insurance”.

And Worsley felt that bringing in external experts who have not worked in the insurance industry before can also help provide ideas over adopting DEI.

“So, we’ll see exponential change in the insurance industry,” he said.

“That will happen and the passion is there, the drive is there, it’s just a question of the insurance industry doesn’t probably know quite how to change.

“That’s part of the journey.”