Could Disruption be the long awaited catalyst for Diversity?

That was the view of one of the panellists at a recent event, ‘How to Keep a Competitive Edge in a Disruptive Business Era’ hosted by the Gender Inclusion Network in collaboration with Bloomberg.

Could Disruption be the long awaited catalyst for Diversity? (F)
Diversity – Via Shutterstock

The Network is the very first ‘grass roots’ insurance gender network which joins together industry forces, currently spearheaded by Aon, CHUBB, RSA, Travellers, Zurich and the Chartered Insurance Institute.

The Network intends to use the combined, cross-industry influence to turn talk into action and leverage real change for gender inclusion in insurance.

The launch event was a great success; a renowned panel, lead by Sian Fisher (CEO of the CII), discussed innovation, technology, diversity and gender inclusion in relation to our current disruptive and fast-changing business environment.

Conversation on the night covered everything from startup technology to Brexit, with the resounding view from the panel that we need to move quicker to keep up with rapid innovations and agile start-ups. Vibhu Sharma, CEO of Zurich’s UK General Insurance business enthused ‘The pace of change is too slow. We’re still trying to just keep up with Facebook, when we need to be Snapchat’; Robert Friend, Global Product Manager at Bloomberg went on to say ‘The way you deliver products has to be as diverse as your customer base – and you have do it quicker than competitors’. Both Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO Virgin Money and Inga Beale, CEO Lloyds emphasized utilising the whole of our talent pool and specified that ‘Competitive advantage is all about people and culture’.

It was particularly heartening to see insurance and business leaders able to openly discuss the shortcomings of the industry, namely that it is seen as ‘traditional’ and ‘slow’ and discuss how we must modernise at a rate never seen before. A very significant part of the modernisation, the panellists agreed, is diversity – with particular emphasis on how to bring in and retain talented women, millennials, and social groups which may not usually consider a career in insurance or financial services.

The evening was wrapped up by the Chair of the Gender Inclusion Network, Joanne Graham, Aon who revisited the words of Vibhu Sharma earlier in the debate stating ‘it’s now time to turn words into action’. That is the aim of the Network, to ‘disrupt’ the insurance industry status quo when it comes to Gender balance.

If you would like to join the Network or find out about future events, please visit our website and complete the form on the contact us page and you will be added to the mailing list.

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