Aston Lark boss says there is more to do to increase BAME in the insurance sector and that the reporting of BAME data could soon become mandatory which would give a much more accurate picture of the situation

Some parts of the insurance industry have been pushing for greater Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation for over a year now, but more still needs to be done.

Yet while reporting of BAME figures remains voluntary with data seemingly patchy at best, it is hard to assess the scale of the challenge.

Aston Lark’s group chief executive Peter Blanc, speaking on a City Forum webinar yesterday said he estimated that 6% of the company’s workforce was from a BAME background. 

“We have got the statistics for all our own joiners, we have forms and people can voluntarily disclose ethnicity, but we haven’t got it for our historical acquisitions.

And with 14% of the UK population identifying as BAME, Blanc said that this figure could well be higher if this data was to hand, but some firms that the broker has partnered with simply do not have this kind of data.

When asked about whether BAME data reporting could become mandatory as it is with gender, Blanc replied: “That’s probably an inevitability.”

He added that Aston Lark would address the issue.

Insurance Times contacted several firms including Biba and the CII, and both said that they did not hold such data.

Good outcome

Blanc admitted that the Black Lives Matter movement has made the insurance industry think more closely about what it is doing to increase the representation of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) up.

Blanc said: “It’s a good outcome from the BLM movement. It has made quite a lot of people think ‘what are we doing?’ and ‘why are we under-represented?’ and ‘what are we doing going forward?’

“Integration from schooling to careers advice to encouraging people from those backgrounds to come into insurance, once we get the in we stand a fighting chance to make them believe that they can go and take on the top jobs in the profession.

”I think insurance are exemplars in treating people well and properly. But for some reason it has not filtered down to some parts of the community.”

Fiercely protective

Blanc questioned why candidates from a BAME background do not see insurance as a viable career choice.

“As employers, we are fiercely protective that we are never racist, sexist and that we do not discriminate,” Blanc added.

Speaking about the issue of getting more BAME into the industry, Blanc said: “you need to get more people into the system, there’s the challenge around unconscious biased [in that] people are just naturally biased when interviewing people.”

He gave the example of starting a conversation around football when interviewing a candidate and how it could lead to unconscious bias if that person has no interest in football.

Read more…The Big Question June 2020: When the insurance world returns to offices, what will the ‘new normal’ look like?

Not subscribed? Become a subscriber and access our premium content

Office Big Question