Unconscious biases have always existed, and recently employees across all professional industries, including insurance, are recognizing and talking about them more than ever before.
William Wharton, Head of Argo Insurance Bermuda, sees particularly how young Black men can be excluded from entry-level re/insurance positions when employers require qualifications and job experience that are often unnecessary for the positions they’re seeking to fill.
In its 2021 Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Report, Intelligent Insurer named Wharton one of re/insurance’s top 25 D&I champions alongside others “chosen for their leadership, achievements and efforts in supporting and promoting D&I in their organizations and in the wider re/insurance market.”
Argo Group and its employees are taking steps to address the need for diversity in the insurance industry.
Sponsor and support candidates
One way to make an immediate impact, Wharton says, is for executives to sponsor diverse candidates for senior positions when they’re available.
“Executive management jobs tend not to be widely advertised,” Wharton told Intelligent Insurer. “And when promising employees reach that level, it is because they have been sponsored or supported by existing executives who believe they are up to the task.
“This means it is very much about who you know – and who knows you. More executives need to sponsor diverse candidates for senior roles.”
Another way is to offer opportunities for students from underrepresented communities, as Argo does in partnership with the Spencer Foundation. This approach might take a longer time to influence overall hiring practices, especially in leadership positions, but it helps lay the groundwork for long-term change.