The UK’s major insurers and reinsurers also contributed to the new strategy document via the ABI’s DEI board sub group

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has unveiled a new blueprint that sets out its multiyear strategy to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) across the insurance and long-term savings industry.

Launched at the ABI’s DEI Summit today (22 November 2022) the blueprint sets out priority areas for the ABI to focus on, good practice for industry and opportunities for collaboration with experts.

The new documents examine each stage of the employment journey – from using inclusive recruitment practices to attract the best talent from all backgrounds, to helping employees grow and progress their careers in the sector and advancing understanding of what works to drive improvement.

The blueprint was created in collaboration with members of the ABI’s DEI board sub group, which includes the majority of the UK’s major insurers and reinsurers.

An ABI spokesperson said: “Improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the insurance and long-term savings industry is not a ‘nice to do’ – it’s a must.

“A workforce that reflects the diverse society that we serve paves the way for more creative and innovative thinking.

It paves the way for better, more informed decision making and it paves the way for happier, more engaged employees.

“As an industry, we recognise that we need to do more and we are committed to taking action.”

Making progress

The ABI added that the sector has made progress on DEI goals, but it has not been consistent.

For example, it said that while the proportion of female board members increased from 29% to 32% last year, the overall proportion of employees from ethnic minority backgrounds across the industry fell from 10% to 9%, largely due to decreases at entry level.

The blueprint’s first goal is focused on recruitment practices – it aims to encourage potential employees from all backgrounds, experiences and seniority into the sector.

The ABI also emphasised a greater focus on socio-economic status – its new blueprint seeks to make opportunities for apprentices and school-leavers attractive and inclusive, drive up the take-up of initiatives to support under-represented groups into the industry and show that insurance and long-term savings offers a wide range of attractive career opportunities for many different skillsets.

Hannah Gurga, ABI director general, said: “At a time when society is entering the most challenging circumstances in a decade, the need for a diverse range of experiences and perspectives has never been greater.

“I’m proud that our industry is setting the path for change with this ambitious blueprint. This isn’t just about changing the way the industry looks and feels, it’s about creating a more effective industry that represents the people we serve.”

“Whether it’s financial resilience or climate change, our sector has always aspired to be at the forefront of efforts to address societal challenges.

“So, we must also play a leading role in creating diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces. With initiatives such as the #MakingFlexibleWork campaign and signing up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work charter, we’ve made a start – but there is much more to do.”