’There can be no room for complacency on DEI,’ says executive sponsor

The ABI has called on insurance firms to not get left behind on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as it revealed progress with apprenticeships had stalled.

In a statement released today (10 October 2023), the association gave an update on progress the industry had made since launching its DEI Blueprint last year (22 November 2023).

Progress on the blueprint, which sets out a plan over how the ABI will improve DEI across the sector over the next five years, is measured against three priorities – attract, grow and advance.

As part of this, the ABI pledged to increase the number of apprenticeships across the sector to 2,500 by 2025.

However, its latest data showed that the number of apprenticeships offered by ABI members stood at 1,231 in 2022.

“We need faster and more focused action if we’re going to achieve this goal,” the association said.

”Apprenticeships play a vital role in boosting socioeconomic diversity and efforts to hit this target will be a key priority in the year ahead.

”We’ll continue to work closely with our members to understand the barriers firms are facing.”

‘Bold mission’

However, the ABI also revealed that good progress on improving board diversity and setting targets and insights on neurodiversity was being made.

It found that almost half (47%) of insurance and long-term savings firms now collect data on neurodiversity within their organisation, which increased from 40% in 2021 and 27% in 2020.

And almost a quarter (24%) of members now have a specific policy in place to support neurodiverse employees in the workplace, up from 14% in 2021. 

Meanwhile, it said that the number women on boards increased from 19% in 2017 to 32% in 2022, while black and ethnic minority representation at board level within firms rose from 2% in 2021 to 6% last year.

Hannah Gurga, director general of the ABI, said that the industry was making “encouraging” progress, but felt more needed to be done.

“We know we need to do more if we’re to succeed in building a workforce that truly reflects the diverse society we serve,” she added.

“2024 must be a year of action where we accelerate progress and broaden perspectives.”

Yvonne Braun, executive sponsor for DEI at the ABI, added: “We said last year that the insurance and long-term savings industry wants to be the most diverse, equitable and inclusive sector of the UK economy.

“We knew this was a bold mission statement, but I’m pleased to see the progress we are making as an industry.  

“We also know that we’re doing better in some areas than others. There can be no room for complacency on DEI and I look forward to continuing to work closely with our members and stakeholders as we seek to deliver on our mission.

”Collaboration is vital and we’re urging the whole sector to maintain this momentum and not get left behind on DEI.”