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Recruiting a diverse group of future insurance professionals needs to start early, say experts.
“From a recruitment perspective, I think the industry could do a lot more at reaching out to underrepresented groups earlier … even at the high school level,” said Susan Johnson, chief diversity and inclusion officer for The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. “We need to put more diverse people out in front of diverse students to show them, this is an industry you want to join and people in this industry look like you.”
According to a 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, just a little over a quarter of millennials working in nondiverse workplaces said they would stay beyond five years, but 69% of those working in diverse workplaces said they planned to stay in their positions.
In insurance, internships and entry-level jobs historically have gone to family and friends already in the industry, said Shelley Yim, San Francisco-based managing director at Aon PLC. She is working with a nonprofit charter school in Oakland, California, to expose a broader base of students to the insurance industry and its opportunities by conducting a career day for the students at the Aon office this fall.
“When we’re talking about talent development with people who are underrepresented, we have to reach them with something that interests them,” said Ms. Yim, who will share her experiences working with Fortune 50 technology firms in the San Francisco Bay Area and traveling the world. Students also learn the role insurance has in evolving businesses like cryptocurrency and gig economy startups.
“I think there are a lot of things that are sexy about the industry that younger kids would love,” said Liz Walker, director of enterprise risk and global insurance at Chicago-based Groupon Inc., who also believes recruitment should start before college. “I think at its most altruistic, the industry is here to make people and companies more resilient, helping people get through hard times. That social responsibility component … speaks to what younger people care about.”
If your company is thinking of embarking on a diversity and inclusion program, your top three priorities, based on the 2019 Business Insurance diversity survey, should be to demonstrate fairness in performance and compensation decisions, increase the focus on retention and development of diverse talents, and ensure diversity at all levels of management.