Heard it on the Grapevine

Inspiring best practice from the industry’s executives

As the word gets out about positive action being taken on diversity and inclusion, we’ve asked key individuals from inside and outside the market how they think D&I has made an impact on the insurance industry.

  • Ik Onyiah, Head of Corporate Projects, Oliver James

    Ik Onyiah, Head of Corporate Projects, Oliver James

    ‘Previously, when our clients in insurance would give us tenders for talent, they would never include anything on diversity and inclusion. Now that’s changed and almost all tenders have a huge weighting towards D&I. We are seeing much more conversation through events, committees and groups, which shows the insurance industry isn’t shying away from D&I. There is certainly an open dialogue among HR and leadership teams but, while the awareness is there, the end goal has not yet been reached. Line managers need to be engaged in D&I and be helped to understand the commercial value. D&I isn’t just nice to have, it’s imperative to building the best performing team.’

  • Jane Harley ACII, Manager, Policyholder & Third Party Oversight, Lloyd’s, Winner of the We Are The City Rising Star Award 2018

    Jane Harley ACII, Manager, Policyholder & Third Party Oversight, Lloyd’s, Winner of the We Are The City Rising Star Award 2018

    ‘Joining the insurance industry five years ago, via Lloyd’s graduate programme, one of the many things I did notice was how similar everyone was. Although there was a mix in gender, that was really where it stopped. Five years on, I have noticed considerable changes. There is a shift from hiring people similar to you, to ensuring teams are diverse in all aspects. Apprenticeships have helped to make a positive impact in the D&I space, as has establishing internal committees where members are eager to drive change in diversity. This is even more impactful when taken a step further, via collaboration of multiple companies within the industry.’

  • Hasreen Chadha, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Hiscox

    Hasreen Chadha, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Hiscox

    ‘D&I is a marathon, not a sprint – people are at different levels of awareness and education. Some people want to move quickly and dive in radically, but others may still be on the diving board. You need to bring everyone along and continue to raise awareness and educate. What gets measured, gets done – set diversity KPIs to ensure that progress is made and people are accountable for achieving results.’

  • Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader, PWC

    Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader, PWC

    ‘I was very proud that PwC sponsored the ‘Dive In’ Global Insurance D&I festival and I encourage others to take the opportunity. This is a unique sector-wide, global event and a great way to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of D&I. We learned a lot from participating, our people loved it and it sparked some great new client conversations. It has helped us attract some new talent and also triggered some initiatives within PwC around bringing your whole self to work, resilience and mental health which all helped with people engagement.’

  • Olu Dansum, Senior Associate, DAC Beachcroft LLP

    Olu Dansum, Senior Associate, DAC Beachcroft LLP

    ‘There is empirical evidence to support the view that a diverse workforce is more profitable, so it makes business sense to implement policies that promote D&I. Whilst the insurance market may profess its commitment to the D&I agenda, soundbites are not enough. Words need to be backed up with action. Steps should be taken to aid progress such as working in partnership with other professional services sectors, such as law and accountancy, where access and opportunities for a wider pool of talent has manifestly increased.’

  • Emma Francis, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd

    Emma Francis, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Responsibility, Zurich Insurance Company Ltd

    ‘One initiative we have implemented at Zurich is aimed at addressing the drop-off in women’s careers once they have had a child. We did detailed analysis of the bottlenecks at Zurich, which corroborated recent research from the ABI (September, 2018) that found that working part-time is the thing that holds women back the most in their career. We therefore now require all Zurich UK vacancies to be offered with a part-time or job-share option in the hope that flexible working at all levels will become normalised. In the first month, the number of female applicants has increased considerably, helping us to increase the pool of talent we select from.

    A lot of good things have been done in the D&I space in insurance, but the most important part now is understanding what works. We’ve got to keep trying things and measuring carefully so that we can really make an impact.’

  • Marc McKenna-Coles, Global Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Lloyd’s

    Marc McKenna-Coles, Global Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Lloyd’s

    ‘There is a real desire to turn the dial on gender balance at all levels. Not only that but there is a recognition that ethnic diversity is still lacking. Networks such as iCAN (Insurance Cultural Awareness Network) and the ACIA (Afro-Caribbean Insurance Association) will help drive real and authentic change, but it’s clear organisations want to improve how they attract, develop and retain a spectrum of difference.’

  • Insurance Journal

    Insurance Journal

    ‘Dive In is helping insurance get fit for the future, highlighting the business case for diverse and inclusive workplaces and providing practical ideas and inspiration for how to bring about positive change. Its unprecedented growth bolsters its strength as the first unique collaboration of sector organizations for D&I in the world.’