In March, Lloyd’s of London published its 2020 culture survey. While it revealed some progress on gender – race and ethnicity still needs to be addressed. Insurance Times asks the industry how they could apply the survey’s key learnings within their own organisations 

Jane Pocock, managing director, Copart UK and Ireland

Jane Pocock

Jane Pocock, Copart 

This survey paints a picture of a workplace culture with a long way to go, but I don’t believe the story is the same across the insurance sector.

We work with most of the UK’s leading insurers and I’ve seen the rapid progress they’re making in building inclusive, multicultural working environments, where the kind of toxic behaviours highlighted in the Lloyd’s survey are simply not tolerated.

Of course, there is a lot more to do in a sector that has traditionally been slow to change, but insurers are moving in the right direction, bringing in policies that support and protect their employees.

Policies though are only part of the story – empathetic leadership is essential. Empathy is not a weakness in a leader; it is a huge strength and a key quality as we all try to build a better working world featuring respect and inclusion.

As a female leader in the world of salvage, I’ve had a great opportunity to help drive change in a traditionally male-dominated sector. For example, we’re now seeing more female engineers and drivers coming into the workforce.

That kind of change needs to be, and can be, achieved across the whole insurance sector, driving out all forms of prejudice and unfairness while encouraging and enabling everyone to thrive.

Mo Kang, chief people and transformation officer, Aspen 

Mo Kang_Aspen

Mo Kang, Aspen 

We are very supportive of Lloyd’s of London’s efforts to create a new culture of inclusion and respect, which is in line with our own company values and principles.

We are committed to creating a fair, inclusive and supportive environment, along with a safe place to work.

While we have made good progress towards creating a culture of inclusivity so that our people feel respected and valued, we will continue to increase our efforts in this area, which is a core part of our culture at Aspen.

Richard Beaven, chief operating officer, Brightside Group

Richard Beaven_Brightside Group

Richard Beaven, Brightside Group 

It is good to see the progress that has been made at Lloyd’s and great to see such transparency.

That said, there are still some shockingly poor statistics. Building an ethnically diverse workforce seems to have a long way to go and thus produces a disproportionately negative result. Progress on diversity needs to be a major area of focus.

Probably the most worrying finding is that while 65% of women were positive about how inappropriate behaviour is dealt with, the report suggests that 45% may not be.

This ties into similar poor results for speaking up, with only around 50% of respondents feeling comfortable about raising a complaint.

Changing a culture is a long and arduous process, but if Lloyd’s want to attract the best and most diverse talent, some fundamental issues still need to be addressed.

Sheila Cameron, chief executive, Lloyd’s Market Association

While progress has been made in some important areas, particularly on gender targets and the experience of women working in the market, there remains a way to go on improving working conditions for ethnic minority colleagues.

This is particularly true for those who identify as black or black British and it is incumbent on all of us that are leaders in the market to do more to attract and retain ethnic minorities.

Shelia Cameron_LMA

Sheila Cameron, LMA

Later this year, the Cultural Advisory Group, which set the Lloyd’s target on gender, will reconvene to establish an ethnicity target.

It is yet to be decided if this will centre around more inclusive leadership teams and boards, or a higher percentage of the market’s population as a whole. Agreeing on what the most effective target would be to help redress the balance is paramount.

In considering our respective returns to the office, many will redefine how office spaces are used in light of our lockdown experiences - with that, there is a tremendous opportunity to push the bar higher for diversity and inclusion.

Julie Harrison, chief HR officer, Allianz

Julie Harrison_Allianz

Julie Harrison, Allianz

The results from the survey demonstrate what we already know – culture needs to be embedded in an organisation and you can’t always fix things quickly.

It is important to acknowledge the areas where things are heading in the right direction, but it’s also crucial to hone in on what’s not changed and investigate why.

We have an industry full of incredibly talented people and we need to be forensic when looking at barriers to success – is it a lack of opportunities, the confidence to speak up, or processes and procedures that unintentionally disadvantage?

By coming together publicly on commitments, such as the Race at Work Charter, the industry is taking steps forward, but we need to prove that we are ‘walking the walk.’

Potential new recruits need to have a positive image of the industry and want to join the sector, otherwise we’ll continue to have circular conversations about diversity, inclusion and culture.

We look to foster an inclusive and professional culture across Allianz.

In recent years, our eight employee networks have really helped to make positive changes through open discussions and cross department collaboration.

Yvonne Braun_ABI

Yvonne Braun, ABI

Yvonne Braun, director of long-term savings and protection, ABI

It’s encouraging to see the improvements at Lloyd’s in driving cultural change across gender balance and speaking up.

However, we endorse the view  that much more progress is needed in attracting and retaining black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) talent in the insurance and long-term savings sector.

Our latest figures indicate that BAME employees make up 10% of colleagues at entry level, but at executive and board level, this figure drops to 2%, showing the vital need to advance ethnic diversity across the industry.

The ABI has signed up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, along with 35 ABI members, as part of an industry-wide commitment to improve opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues.

Together with our members, we are also supporting the 10,000 Black Interns programme by providing internships to young black people in the UK. Plus, nearly half of ABI members are working with organisations supporting social mobility in the workplace.

There is still a long way to go and it’s crucial that all firms in our sector help drive faster progress to combat inequality across the sector.