Following Lloyd’s of London’s most recent culture survey, Aspen Insurance’s director of corporate development and communications tells Insurance Times why the industry must work together to achieve diversity

The insurance industry must show solidarity to drive positive change around increasing diversity, according to Aspen Insurance’s director of corporate development and communications Josh Brekenfeld.

Aspen has just launched ’Breakthrough’, which is an internal sponsorship programme for high potential female talent in the business. 

Breakthrough forms part of the organisation’s Aspen Cultural Transformation (ACT) initiative - this aims to provide career support for mid-level female employees who have a strong performance track record and have demonstrated the potential to progress into senior leadership roles in the future. 

This is the first career development programme of its kind at Aspen and its launch represents a significant milestone in Aspen’s cultural development and diversity and inclusion journey.

Brekenfeld said: “To be successful, the industry needs to show support and collaborate, both internally and externally, in order to accelerate action and drive a positive cultural change across the market.

“Companies should review their principles and values to ensure they align to their diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

Meanwhile, Lloyd’s most recent culture survey highlighted the need for the insurance sector to address the representation of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff that it employs.

Diversity initiative

At the beginning of March, Aspen entered into three sponsor partnerships with the LGBT Insurance Network, the Gender Inclusion network (GIN) and the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN) as part of its commitment to promote cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion across its business. 

Brekenfeld explained that Aspen created the ACT initiative in 2019, to help the organisation become a more diverse and inclusive place to work.

Last year, Aspen developed a strong governance structure for this work, with three workstreams - each led by a chair from within the business and an executive committee sponsor.

The Aspen Cultural Transformation workstreams focus on:

  • Attracting diverse talent.
  • Developing diverse talent.
  • Building inclusion.

The initiative’s successes so far include a new manager recruitment toolkit to ensure Aspen employs the best person for the job, partnerships with community organisations to provide local low income and diverse students with work experience, career insights and support and launching a new graduate programme, with an emphasis on attracting more diverse applicants.

Future plans 

Aspen has ambitious plans for 2021 across the ACT network, including setting up new internal networks around gender, as well as for race and ethnicity, so colleagues who share particular characteristics can come together to help make Aspen a truly diverse and inclusive place to work.