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2022 Innovation Awards: Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Service

2022 Innovation Awards

Zurich North America
Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Service

A survey of new and current customers’ needs led Zurich North America’s unit focused on resilience to create a diversity, equity and inclusion program for policyholders that approaches DEI from a risk management perspective.

“We found that more than half of the customers we communicated with believed that a service around diversity, equity and inclusion would be valuable to their organization,” said Lisa Dutkanych, head of strategy, business planning and resilience solutions. 

“We learned that we could help our customers by offering consulting and identifying focus areas to advance their diversity, equity and inclusion and impact the development of policies and programs for DEI,” she said. The Workplace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Service, which was rolled out in January, is the first nontraditional risk engineering service to be developed by Zurich. 

Julia Oltmanns, director of workplace diversity, equity and inclusion services at Zurich Resilience Solutions, said knowledge about DEI is increasingly relevant for businesses. “The organizations that Zurich works with may lose business if they are not able to adequately provide DEI information and demonstrate their commitment to it,” she said. 

It’s important for customers and brokers to know that “there are increasing recoveries in discrimination lawsuits,” Ms. Dutkanych said. More shareholder derivative actions include allegations around environmental, social and governance priorities and disclosures, “and DEI fits as a component in each of these areas.” 

Shareholders and investors are asking for more information about what companies are doing around DEI and what their employee representation looks like, she said. 

There has also been a rise in discrimination and harassment lawsuits, “and those recoveries are significant today,” Ms. Oltmanns said, noting that more regulators at both state and federal levels are emphasizing DEI. 

As DEI has traditionally been viewed as a human resources responsibility, one of the goals has been to make sure that policyholders and brokers understand that this is not just an HR issue, Ms. Oltmanns said. “Risk managers also need to be considering the risks of a lack of attention to DEI.” 

The program is designed to help risk managers understand that DEI is an enterprise risk and should be viewed from a risk management perspective. 

It includes an assessment process to provide organizations pursuing DEI initiatives with an external review to identify areas they might have missed and opportunities they can benefit from. 

Organizations that are starting a DEI program or do not yet have one in place can get help establishing their strategy and developing an effective program, Ms. Oltmanns said. 




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