ABI chair Amanda Blanc says she cannot justify the current lack of diversity in insurance

ABI chair Amanda Blanc has promised the ABI will look to tackle the lack of diversity in insurance by tracking the performance of firms against key action points.

These action points centre on finding ways to encourage staff to remain a part of the workforce through different periods of their lives, such as by introducing more job share arrangements, and by making part-time working more available at a senior level.

Speaking in a panel at the ABI conference today, Blanc said she could not currently justify the low levels of diversity at senior level in the insurance sector.

She said she had been encouraged by some progress in gender diversity in the last year, reporting a 5% increase in females in executive positions.

But Blanc added this has to be sustained over several years to get diversity levels to where they need to be.

She said the problem with becomes an issue at mid-level.

Change

“There is not a problem in attracting diversity into the industry,” she said. “If you take gender as an example, the problem is in keeping women in the industry as they progress through their career. 

“We are not perfect and it’s going to require a generational change. 

“You cannot just put somebody into a boardroom if they haven’t got the experience and competence within a regulatory environment. 

“We have to make sure that we get and we keep people in our industry. Whether it’s ethnicity, sexuality or gender we have to work really hard at that middle layer of the organisation to make sure that they stay.”

Through job shares and part-time working, Blanc believes a more diverse workforce will remain in the industry. Unbiased training, she said, is not the solution.

“Why is there this massive gap? It’s because people are sitting in jobs where they are massively overqualified for them, but they just don’t feel that they can get the balance right as they are heading through a time in their life when they’re having children or caring for elder relatives,” she said.

“I can’t justify where we are today and I don’t intend for us to justify where we are today. All I can say is we are committed to doing something about it.”

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