Post COVID-19 landscape of insurance tax: Diversity and inclusion

September 24, 2020

by Andrew Rosam Insurance Tax Market Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7718 339569

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As the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) shakes up traditional working models, there is an opportunity for the insurance industry to really get to grips with diversity and inclusion. Our 2019 Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Spotlight on Insurance cited the working environment as one of the main reasons why there were few women in senior roles. More broadly, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has brought the wider debate about equality and diversity back to the forefront of society’s conscience. Whether reaching a broader customer base or attracting the best talent to service them, diversity and inclusion needs to become a commercial priority.

There has never been a better time for this. As we re-appraise working environments and cultures long taken for granted, the disruption of recent months can become an advantage. Drawing from our recent report Are you Missing Millions we identify opportunities for businesses to differentiate themselves, boost brand loyalty and reinforce their social licence to operate. There are a number of interventions insurers can put in place now, to maintain the momentum of the diversity agenda.

Diversity data is central to strategy: Unlocking the organisation’s diversity and inclusion data will bring powerful insights that can take centre stage in the business strategy. Collecting data on ethnicity and other aspects of diversity allows organisations to analyse recruitment, promotions, departures, ratings, teams and engagement scores and better understand where their own challenges lie. This enables them to tailor their strategies and focus on the levers that will have the greatest impact in driving long-term sustainable change. Transparency of the data and regular reporting on progress sends a strong signal to both internal and external stakeholders that you take the issue seriously and are committed to improving.

Flexible Working: Make the most of the opportunity to make permanent changes to remote and flexible working policies. This will bring sustained benefits for a diverse workforce and directly challenges the notion that productivity is obtained within a nine-to-five office construct. Establish the right tools and culture to empower individuals to work in the best way for them and organisations will see a positive shift in productivity and engagement as a result.

Talent attraction and recruitment: Attraction of diverse talent is critical to deliver the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive organisation. This means role modelling the right corporate behaviours to the job market, and reducing bias throughout the hiring and promotion processes. Changes to eliminate bias in the hiring and promotion systems themselves can be powerful drivers to prevent the elimination of people from roles they could be well-suited to - ultimately contributing to a homogenous workforce. Understanding where those gaps and biases lay requires an external review and redesign of corporate processes. This will often include a programme of unconscious bias awareness training combined with ongoing behavioural nudges and conscious inclusion activities.

Role modelling: Organisational change requires well-placed seeds to take root. This means role modelling inclusive behaviours by individuals who can publicly and authentically embody them. Getting this right will support minority groups and will demonstrate to the wider workforce what an inclusive culture looks like. The insurance sector can look for inspiration towards a number of industry-wide initiatives such as the Global Dive In D&I Festival in Insurance, the Insurance Supper Club and Insuring Women’s Futures.

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by Andrew Rosam Insurance Tax Market Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Email +44 (0)7718 339569