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Lloyd's diversity survey shows firms making some progress

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Businesses that operate at Lloyd's of London are making progress with diversity and inclusion initiatives, but the market remains male-dominated.

And efforts to increase the diversity of those entering the insurance profession in general — and staying in the business — must be stepped up, experts say. Risk managers also agree that more work needs to be done.

Inclusion@Lloyd's, a steering group for overseeing the market's diversity and inclusion efforts, governance and best practices, surveyed human resources executives at 40 Lloyd's organizations to gauge their diversity and inclusion practices and identify areas where more work is needed.

The study, “Holding up the Mirror,” also sought to identify barriers to improving diversity and inclusion in the Lloyd's market using anonymous responses.

The study, conducted in January and published earlier this month found that 13 of the 40 organizations interviewed have an established diversity and inclusion policy. Four said their organization has an equal opportunity policy.

Only 15% said their business has a diversity council, and 17% have at least one employee resource group. Some 57.5% said their employees belong to external diversity and inclusion groups.

“Our senior leaders feel that we need to be doing a lot more in this space,” said one respondent. “I like it because it is genuine, not because our competitors are doing it or because we should be seen to be doing it. But I do think we are behind the curve compared with some of our competitors.”

“Having someone at the top of the organization (promoting this) is vital. It's not just me banging the drum,” said one human resources director in the survey.

The traditional image and outlook of the insurance industry and a continued tendency to recruit from personal networks are among barriers to improving Lloyd's diversity, according to the survey.

When asked to identify ways Lloyd's can help enhance the diversity agenda, the ideas included: providing resources and case studies; giving presentations; publicizing Lloyd's efforts; emphasizing that diversity is not just “women's issues;” educating business leaders; and updating the market's image to attract younger, diverse talent.

The topic resonated with senior executives during the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s annual conference in San Diego earlier this month.

While they said progress has been made to improve the industry's diversity and inclusion, they agreed that attracting and retaining talent is a big challenge.

J. Patrick Gallagher, chairman, president and CEO of Itasca, Illinois-based Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., noted that the panel he was on, comprised of four white males, is “not the face of the future.”

Of 300 interns that will join Gallagher this summer, about half will be female, Mr. Gallagher said.

Todd Jones, co-head of North America at Willis Towers Watson P.L.C., said the industry has made great strides in attracting well-qualified young people. But he also said keeping them in the business is a challenge.

“We need to figure out how to show people a (career) path,” Mr. Jones said. “If we don't, we are going to miss out.”