’Insurance, as an industry, needs to work hard to attract more diverse candidates,’ says chief executive 

ManyPets’ UK chief executive Oke Eleazu has said that more diverse leadership in insurance is the only way to drive “bigger change” in the industry.

Speaking to Insurance Times, Eleazu said that the sector needed to attract more diverse candidates and create pathways for them into middle and senior management roles.

It came after Eleazu was named in the insurance Cultural Awareness Network’s (iCAN) second edition of its role models book, which was published in June 2023.

Eleazu said the book was key to “develop a pipeline of diverse talent that can make it into senior roles”.

“It was an honour to be asked to feature in the book,” he added.

“I’m a great believer in ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’.”

“I’m not sure that my views on diversity and inclusion (D&I) for MGAs and insurtechs is much different to my views for insurance as a whole – [we] must do better and we can do better.” 

‘Bigger change’

The first edition of iCAN’s role model book was released in May 2019, with it promoting the stories of 35 ethnically diverse models in insurance.

The most recent edition listed 60 ethnic minority role models in the industry.

Speaking about how the industry can increase this number further, Eleazu said: “Insurance, as an industry, needs to work hard to attract more diverse candidates and create pathways for them into middle and senior management roles.

“When I say ‘pathways’, I’m not necessarily talking about positive discrimination, but I do mean access to structured learning and development programmes as well as mentoring and possibly, most importantly, sponsorship.

“It’s only when we have more diverse leadership in insurance that we will be able to make the bigger change.”

Eleazu has played his part in attracting more diverse candidates by helping form the Inclusion Council at ManyPets.

This was created after Eleazu was challenged by his 17-year-old daughter to “do more” to improve diversity in insurance.

“My initial response to that challenge was to work out if I could make a change in the industry as a whole,” he said.

“However, it soon dawned on me that I needed to take care of things ‘in my own backyard’ before I tackled bigger projects.

“So, we created the Racial Equality Action Group at ManyPets, which later morphed into the Inclusion Council.

“This group has done some incredible work to improve inclusion in our business, from awareness, to training and even sponsorship of ethnic minority vet nurses.

”The energy and commitment of the group is amazing, which has led to us winning awards for our inclusive culture, but more importantly, having stellar feedback from colleagues.

“I feel ready to take on the world now.”

Who else was named?

Another seven insurtech leaders were named in iCAN’s role model book.

These included:

Ajay Mistry and Kishan Mangat, iCAN co-chairs, said: ”We all need role models who can inspire us, help us learn from both their successes and challenges and provide a roadmap for achieving our own goals.

”Just 3% of senior positions in the UK insurance industry are currently held by individuals from ethinc minority backgrounds, far below the national average.”