’Neurodiverse people have a brilliant range of skills, so it is frustrating to see such low levels of employment,’ says managing director

Investing in those who are neurodivergent in the workplace is not just the “right thing to do”, it is a call of action to make changes that help more of these “individuals come in and make [the industry] better”.

That is according to Owen Morris, managing director of personal lines at Aviva UK General Insurance (UKGI), who said his goal is to “open the door” for neurodiverse individuals to step into the insurance industry.

It comes as statistics show a lack of employment among neurodivergent individuals in workplaces in general despite the Local Government Association estimating that around one in seven people in the UK are neurodivergent.

According Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) analysis on Outcomes for disabled people in the UK, published 10 February 2022, between July and September 2021, only 53.5% of disabled people aged 16 to 64 years in the UK were employed, compared to 81.6% of non-disabled people.

Disabled people with mental illness or other nervous disorders (30.1%), severe or specific learning difficulties (26.2%) or autism (29%) had the lowest employment rates compared to people with other impairment types such as disabilities connected with legs or feet (58.4%) and visual problems (48.6%).

Morris says that neurodiverse people have a “brilliant range of skills, so it is frustrating to see such low levels of employment – both for the individuals themselves and for business communities”.

And as a result, he questions why there are low levels of employment for neurodiverse people.


While Morris emphasises that the insurance industry is a “wonderful place for diverse individuals come and work”, he acknowledges that the industry is still in the process of “making changes” as “some of the things that the insurance industry does has a real barrier”.

He explains that providing more information about interviews, such as the questions, the interviewers and the environment, would benefit not only neurodiverse people but everyone.

He also feels that hotdesking should not be done if it does not work for everyone.

Morris suggests that one solution could be a “workplace passport” – a system where employees can record their needs and preferences, which will be considered when making decisions about the workplace.

He believes that such solutions are “really deeply practical and commercial” as “neurodiverse people can bring an awful lot to industry”.


Morris says that while the industry has a “long way to go” in making changes – he acknowledges that “there [will] always [be] a long way to go”.

However, Morris explains that “over the last 24 years” he has witnessed a “huge amount of change for the better”.

For example, Aviva joined Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity’s (Gain) campaign to promote neurodiversity in the workplace during Neurodiversity Celebration Week, which took place from 13 to 19 March 2023.

Alongside Aviva, other insurance firms and trade bodies – including the ABI, Ageas, Biba, Covéa, Zurich, Swiss Re and QBE –  also joined Gain.

Morris explains that years ago, people ”probably would not have wanted to say that they had [neurodiversity]”.

“But, now they can just tell us and we encourage everyone to tell us so we can make the changes that will help them and support them,” he says.

“We’re not we’re not in the business of making people feel uncomfortable.”