Chief executive says insurance firms must ’embrace’ diversity and inclusion and build it into the ’fabric of their organisation’

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) both in a business and across all financial services is “absolutely crucial” and can “no longer be a tick box exercise”.

That was according to chief executive of the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA) Mike Keating, who exclusively told Insurance Times that people needed to “embrace” D&I and build it into the “fabric of their organisation”.

He said that drawing talent from all backgrounds would create a “fantastic culture” in firms across the financial sector and an “absolute hotbed of entrepreneurial ideas”.

And if firms “harness” D&I in the “right way”, Keating said it can lead to more profitable growth and more customers, as well as improved retention, marketing and events.

New programme

To help MGAs meet regulators’ D&I demands, Keating and his team have expanded the MGAA’s partnership with Searchlight Insurance Training – part of the UKGI Group – for its circa 350 members.

Its latest programme is an embedded proposition that launched in March 2023 – following three months of work on the project – and is aimed at MGAs of all sizes.

As part of the programme, the MGAA will host bi-monthly diversity, equality and inclusion (DE&I) webinars for senior management.

These webinars were designed to help c-suites understand the issues relating to DE&I, demonstrate and evidence DE&I within their organisations, understand how DE&I can positively impact bottom lines and learn how to make DE&I part of workplace culture.

Keating said that starting at the top was important because then the “rest of the business will follow”.

The MGAA will also host bite-sized DE&I learning in the format of webinars and podcasts for all staff within member firms, in addition to a roundtable in the summer.

Keating said this would ensure the programme continued to evolve with DE&I over time, instead of being stagnant.

“What we’re there to do is to raise the awareness, provide the training kit, hopefully give [members] the opportunity to embrace that, get them thinking internally about where they are on their journey and then use that training kit to actually take it in the direction they wish to go,” he added.