Monday, 24 August 2020 17:23

Taking Bigger, Broader Steps Toward Diversity

Written by Mark Hollmer, Carrier Management


Beyond diversifying their advertising, some say companies can do far more than they previously have to fight discrimination and support social justice.

Carriers including State Farm, Chubb, AIG and Root state they are either already taking or preparing to take those broader steps.


Derede McAlpin of LEVICK, a crisis management public relations firm, explained the Black Lives Matter global protests and their aftermath have raised the bar in terms of how companies should respond to calls for more diversity.


“In the wake worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, corporations rushed to issue statements denouncing discrimination, racial inequities and social injustice. However, more often than not, even the most well intended support triggered backlash accusing the same companies of hypocrisy,” said McAlpin, a crisis management expert who serves as chair of LEVICK’s litigation and diversity & inclusion practice groups. “From racial discrimination and toxic work culture allegations, to complaints about harassment and inequities in pay and hiring, companies are being called out for diversity and inclusion failures in record numbers.”


Still, even as they are being called out, companies aren’t necessarily connecting the dots between their statements of support for diversity and their lack of effort to promote it within their own ranks, McAlpin said.


“Company statements can expose glaring disconnects. A single news story or viral social media post can kill a well-established insurance brand in seconds,” McAlpin said. “Therefore, during these unprecedented times, it is crucial for insurance carriers to reexamine the past for issues not yet put to bed. Review your organization’s leadership, history, HR and local market data, values and corporate purpose.”


Insurers say they are doing just that, working continually to promote diversity and inclusion within their own ranks.


Diverse Recruiting Pools


State Farm does not set specific quotas, but the insurer works hard to recruit from a diverse pool of candidates to find the best individuals for the job, said Public Affairs Specialist Gina Morss-Fischer.

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