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2019 US Insurance Awards: Marsh, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year

Alex Amonett

Attracting and retaining diverse talent in the insurance field continues to be a challenge, but Marsh LLC realized that one possible solution lies within the company.

Officials at the brokerage realized it already had a pipeline of diverse talent throughout its departments and locations, and created a program to foster and develop this talent pool into future senior leaders at the company.

In 2018, Marsh launched its 12-month Global Diversity Leadership Development Program, which identified a group of 50 diverse top performers working in a wide variety of departments in the company and paired them with executive sponsors and peer coaches to help each individual with their development goals and to provide them with insights, coaching and visibility within the firm.

The participants invited into the program committed to meeting with their executive sponsors and coaches and attending several one- and two-day intensive learning programs on topics including communication strategies and inclusive leadership techniques. The program will culminate with a two-day learning intensive in July 2019 in London and provide participants with the opportunity to share their insights.

The program has an intensive focus on leadership development skills and inclusion, said Alex Amonett, Marsh’s Seattle-based global leader of inclusion, diversity and colleague experience, and each participant goes through training on unconscious bias and facilitating conversations of understanding.

“We wanted most importantly to create systematic change as opposed to a standalone program,” he said, noting that as the participants become the next wave of leaders, they’ll be able to “exemplify, model and truly know how to put into action the type of behaviors” needed to maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The implementation of the program did come with challenges, however. With participants coming from countries including Singapore, China, Italy, Germany, Columbia and Argentina, Mr. Amonett and his colleagues had to consider variants based on region, business line and culture, as well as each individual’s needs when matching them with a leader that would be the right fit for the candidate. “Some were paired with truly global leaders who sat across the world from them,” he said.

Of the inaugural class, most of whom began the program at the vice president level, 86% are women, 62% are ethnic or racial minorities and 10% identify as LGBTQ. The program’s ultimate goal is to promote 85% of the group to senior vice president or equivalent roles by 2020. Six months into the program, about 30% of participants so far have been promoted.

Marsh is using this program as a way to ensure it is creating a more equitable process for the way that it engages and promotes diverse talent, he said.


• Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. — Through Hartford’s courageous conversations program, employees have the ability to have planned or unplanned discussions and use internal social channels to share their stories and raise issues important to them, such as mental health, LGBTQ safety, race relations and immigration.

• Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. — Liberty Mutual’s Men as Allies program invites male employees to play a part in creating a more inclusive environment by drawing awareness to the importance of gender collaboration.

• NFP Corp. — Through its women in leadership council, NFP launched a seven-city tour to actively attract women across a range of high school and colleges into the insurance industry.

• Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. — Nearly a third of Zurich’s employees belong to one of the company’s employee resource groups, which network with colleges and universities with diverse student populations and host sessions on inclusion and attracting and engaging diverse talent.

2019 Business Insurance US Insurance Awards home




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