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Diverse workforce brings competitive advantages

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CHICAGO — Organizations that are diverse have a competitive advantage, according to experts speaking at the 2017 Business Insurance Diversity & Inclusion Institute Conference on Monday.

“These organizations can leverage the diversity of thought, people and different cultures to help them gain greater insight to customers and consumers, and add value to the organization,” said Soraya Wright, San Francisco-based risk management executive at SMW Risk Management Consulting L.L.C.

Experts said that diversity within their organizations have been utilized to help reach their customer base and drive business.

“We want really want the company to be representative of who is buying our products and who’s buy our products is a very diverse group of people, statistically more women than men. So, we really look at the benefit that has to the company as a business imperative,” said Laura Cici, Oakland, California-based vice president of global risk management at The Clorox Co.

Ms. Cici added that diverse organization creates innovation. “A lot of our innovations have come directly from our employee resource groups … that bring forth suggestions on how to change things,” she said.

Experts say that improving diversity in the insurance industry is still a relevant topic in 2017.

“Until the problem, and there is a problem … until there is a fundamental fairness in our employment base, our external relationships and our customer relationships, we should keep having a conversation around fairness. We are still talking about it because it’s harder to manage, harder to execute, but we also know there are some inherent difficulties with some people seeing other individuals as equal, as worthy of being given a fair chance and opportunity,” said Eddie Taylor, Akron, Ohio-based president of Taylor Oswald.

Experts said that executives at the top should mentor workers to create a pipeline of diverse candidates. Risk managers are looking for unique thought and this why diversity is imperative.