Diversity is critical to the successful performance of the claims team, according to Barbara Rizzi, Head of Claims for Third Party Lines, Steven Turvey, Head of Claims for First Party Lines, and Laura Brahams, Vice President, Claims Manager for FI and D&O, Arch Insurance International.
Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has rightly been a key priority for the insurance industry over the last several years. There is a rapidly growing recognition of the need to attract employees from the widest possible pool of talent, and to cultivate supportive and inclusive cultures to engage and retain this talent within our industry.
This is particularly the case within claims functions, where a key part of the role is building trusting, respectful and responsive relationships across multiple territories. A diverse claims team is not only advantageous in terms of greater inclusivity and attractiveness to new hires, but it also contributes towards a more creative and intuitive grasp of client needs across different geographies and jurisdictions.
“A diverse claims team is not only advantageous in terms of greater inclusivity and attractiveness to new hires, but it also contributes towards a more creative and intuitive grasp of client needs.”BARBARA RIZZI, HEAD OF CLAIMS FOR THIRD PARTY LINES
Inclusion and Collaboration
At Arch, we place great importance on fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture that reflects the communities that we serve and supports a greater depth of understanding of the markets in which we work.
Diverse teams thrive best in truly collaborative environments, where different perspectives and ideas are actively sought out. Managers need to be confident in their own abilities but also empower their team members and welcome diversity of thought to find better ways of doing things. It is important for each team member to know that their opinions are encouraged and carry weight.
Creating a safe and open work climate also enables collective responsibility, constructive challenge and drives continual improvement, where direct communication and creative problem solving is encouraged and practiced at all times.
Diversity of Perspective
Diversity of viewpoint is especially valuable within a claims team, where making better-informed claims decisions is often aided by having different perspectives.
There is a great value in the collective intelligence that comes from divergent experiences. Organisations where everyone comes from the same background are more likely to reinforce a single, shared point of view. When you have a multitude of different experiences and ideas, you are able to look at issues from different angles and provide more effective solutions.
This approach also creates a more enjoyable working culture where opinions are respected, differences welcomed and people work together to drive better outcomes for our customers.
“We can build far more productive working relationships with brokers and insureds when we can communicate in the same language and understand their local culture.”STEVEN TURVEY, HEAD OF CLAIMS FOR FIRST PARTY LINES
A Global Mindset
As claims professionals, we cater to a broad base of customers, so having a diverse team also makes good business sense.
For example, at Arch within our claims team we have many different nationalities, backgrounds and trained lawyers from various jurisdictions. We find we can build far more productive working relationships with brokers and insureds when we can communicate in the same language, understand their local culture and have an in-depth understanding of the relevant legal and regulatory environment.
An embedded D&I approach is most effective when cascaded down through the organisation. From team leaders to junior colleagues, everyone needs to be fully engaged in the process for it to be successful.
As part of Arch’s commitment to improving D&I, all our managers are required to participate in a comprehensive and demanding ‘Fostering Inclusive Leadership’ course, provided by the Yale School of Management.
The course helps participants to better leverage the collective strengths of team members in actively seeking out and appreciating diverse perspectives and ideas to drive innovation, new ideas and progress. Another key D&I initiative is our Employee Networks which include ‘Abled not Labelled and Allies’, ‘Black Professionals and Allies’, ‘LGBTQ+ and Allies’, ‘‘Women and Allies’, and ‘Young Professionals and Allies’. These are communities of employees who meet regularly to network, learn from one another and drive actions that support Arch’s D&I strategy. They are great platforms to also help staff to connect with each other and celebrate the diversity that we have across our company.
“An embedded D&I approach is most effective when cascaded down through the organisation. From team leaders to junior colleagues, everyone needs to be fully engaged in the process.”LAURA BRAHAMS, VICE PRESIDENT, CLAIMS MANAGER FOR FI AND D&O
The Diversity Pipeline
In addition to nurturing existing talent, it is essential that we all continue to support actions to encourage diverse talent to join our industry. For example, we are proud to partner with SEO London to provide internships and deliver educational training and mentoring support to young people from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds.
In the post-pandemic work environment, hybrid working has continued to be for many a very welcome feature of working life. Claims is very much a client-facing role, so having a proportion of the team in the office at all times is an essential part of our service offering, not to mention the cultural importance of in-person interaction within teams and across departments. However, we also understand the benefits of a flexible approach both internally and externally and have adjusted our methods of working accordingly.
Hybrid working is also opening up a wider recruitment pool for the insurance market. Many organisations have reported an increase in the number of ‘returners’ to the sector, as hybrid roles have made it easier to juggle family and career responsibilities. Attracting, developing and retaining diverse talent must remain a priority for the insurance market. We are committed to building and maintaining a healthy pipeline of talent that represents the diverse world we insure and brings the diverse range of skills that we will increasingly require to ensure the long-term success of our industry.