Diversity & inclusion hub

Sharing our industry’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion

The insurance sector, with an employee base of some 920 000 people in the EU, has always been at the forefront of promoting equal opportunities and combatting discrimination in the workplace.

While work still needs to be done to achieve greater representation across all sectors, insurance appears to be making great strides when compared with other sectors.


Insurance Europe’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Hub aims to facilitate the sharing of best practices across Europe’s various insurance markets.  

Insurance Europe is also proud to have signed a landmark joint declaration with the European insurance social partners committing to supporting companies to make D&I an integral component of their culture and business strategies.

Belgium

Belgium

  • Financial institutions joined forces to establish a single Women in finance” platform in 2018 to promote gender balance within the sector and raise awareness of diversity and inclusion matters.

  • Every year, one insurer organises a “reverse mentoring session” in which the members of its executive committee are the mentees and junior employees are their mentors. The initiative helps the executive committee members to remain in touch with younger employees, for whom it is an opportunity to learn more about the organisation and career development.

  • One company entered into a partnership with Passwerk for the redevelopment of its website. Passwerk taps into the qualities and talents of people on the autism spectrum in various fields. It combines an economic dimension with a social dimension to offer services to clients. 

  • A company active in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands developed a guide to D&I principles to ensure employees are aware of the many dimensions of diversity (eg, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, nationality and ethnicity, physical or mental abilities). The guidance explains how to achieve inclusion in the workplace, including the best strategies to manage and develop employees to promote inclusive behaviour. Infographics were developed to support the dissemination of the messages. On the HR side, the company developed a guidance document to further develop a hiring process that opens the talent pool to everyone who is qualified to do the work.

  • The same company offers employee networks, which are voluntary, employee-led groups in the areas of diversity for which the company strives. The networks that it offers to open are: LGBTQ, gender equality, ethnicity and international cultural heritage, working parents, intergenerational, mental health, disability and youth.

Austria

Austria

  • Following the formal appointment of a D&I officer in 2020, the Austrian insurance association (VVO) established a D&I Committee. Under the auspices of two members of the management board, the Committee aims to improve the embedding of D&I in all areas and processes of the association and ensure consistency with its D&I strategy. To anchor the foundations more firmly, training sessions were held on equal treatment law in the workplace.

  • The VVO launched a number of initiatives in 2021 that emphasised the association’s commitment to D&I. For example, companies celebrated International Women's Day as well as Pride Month, in the course of which a network for members and supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community was also founded. Office buildings were used as prominent ambassadors with an impressive rainbow display: “Orange the World” against violence against women and #purplelightup for a barrier-free economy.

  • To develop the most effective support measures for women in management, the VVO conducted an in-depth analysis of the status quo. This analysis was part of the indexing process for the Women’s Career Index. One of the most significant measures developed on the basis of the analysis results was a comprehensive update of the VVO’s recruitment guidelines. These are designed to promote diversity in all teams and at all management levels, ensure equal opportunities for all employees, and guarantee an objective and transparent selection process for managers. In addition to the new recruiting guidelines, a mentoring programme was launched to support talented individuals in their personal and professional development.

  • In order to establish a standard for geographically flexible working, some companies concluded an agreement on the introduction and handling of home offices. For companies and employees, there are new opportunities and possibilities to design communication and ways of working in a more future-oriented way. The compatibility of work and private life is to be an important goal in this context.

  •  Measurability is an essential criterion for the successful implementation of any strategy. For this reason, a company created an inclusion index as part of a regular employee survey. It indicates the level of success in creating a working environment in which appreciation, equal opportunities, fairness and belonging can be experienced by a diversity of people. The index questions were included in the survey for the first time in 2021 and now serves as an important indicator of D&I.

  • The increasing shortage of skilled workers, which will only get worse in the coming years due to demographic changes, has been identified as a major challenge for the future. To fight these challenges, a company founded a new generation network which surveys the needs and expectations of different age groups. The company also launched a country-wide apprenticeship scheme.

  • A company launched an initiative called the DisAbility Performance Check which is a detailed analysis of the circumstances of people with disabilities. Based on the results, a strategy for the gradual expansion of inclusion was developed. The measures already implemented include an improved accessibility to its website for people with disabilities as well as communications around the Day of People with Disabilities.

Luxembourg

Luxembourg

  • A company active in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands developed a guide to D&I principles to ensure employees are aware of the many dimensions of diversity (eg, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, nationality and ethnicity, physical or mental abilities). The guidance explains how to achieve inclusion in the workplace, including the best strategies to manage and develop employees to promote inclusive behaviour. Infographics were developed to support the dissemination of the messages. On the HR side, the company developed a guidance document to further develop a hiring process that opens the talent pool to everyone who is qualified to do the work.

  • The same company offers employee networks, which are voluntary, employee-led groups in the areas of diversity for which the company strives. The networks that it offers to open are: LGBTQ, gender equality, ethnicity and international cultural heritage, working parents, intergenerational, mental health, disability and youth.

Netherlands

Netherlands

  • The Dutch association of insurers, the VVN, is among the signatories to a national initiative called the Diversity Charter. As a signatory, the insurance sector is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  • A company active in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands developed a guide to D&I principles to ensure employees are aware of the many dimensions of diversity (eg, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, nationality and ethnicity, physical or mental abilities). The guidance explains how to achieve inclusion in the workplace, including the best strategies to manage and develop employees to promote inclusive behaviour. Infographics were developed to support the dissemination of the messages. On the HR side, the company developed a guidance document to further develop a hiring process that opens the talent pool to everyone who is qualified to do the work.

  • The same company offers employee networks, which are voluntary, employee-led groups in the areas of diversity for which the company strives. The networks that it offers to open are: LGBTQ, gender equality, ethnicity and international cultural heritage, working parents, intergenerational, mental health, disability and youth.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Members of ČAP, the Czech insurance association, focus on a range of areas that promote D&I. There are projects to support young talent, facilitate the employment of disabled people, run training programmes for employees aged 55+ and to keep in touch with retired employees.

ČAP members also focus on women, with, for example, a “Women Managers Club” or efforts to create a more balanced representation of women in management roles. Employers also focus on supporting employees on maternity/parental leave. The promotion of diversity is supported through courses for employees.

Denmark

Denmark

  • One company has introduced several initiatives to increase LGBT+ inclusivity so that everyone can be their full and true selves at work, feel they belong and be empowered to make a difference. These include:

    • Six hours of training for all employees, based on UNESCO’s competency framework for achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to create a common language and understanding for discussing D&I issues and to increase employee awareness.
    • A partnership with Stonewall, the LGBTQ+ rights organisation, to provide benchmarking, webinars, etc.
    • Publishing analysis of the median gender pay gap across all its business units in its yearly sustainability report.

France

France

  • The parental and child welcoming leave was extended to 28 days (including birth leave) as of July 2021. Insurers decided to go further with supplementary financing to guarantee 100% of salary.

  • In the insurance industry, more than half of all managerial positions are occupied by women (51%), up 6 percentage points since 2009 (source).

  • In February 2021, insurers signed an agreement on diversity and equality with the trade unions to promote inclusion and combat all forms of discrimination. It covers concrete measures in four areas: combatting discrimination against all those covered by the agreement (women, LGBT+ individuals, the young, older people, handicapped workers), professional and wage parity for women and men, measures to combat sexual harassment and violence, and further inclusivity policies.

  • Individual companies have also implemented D&I policies and launched various D&I initiatives.

Germany

Germany

  • The AGV, the employers’ association of insurance companies, has been very active since 2012 in improving the number of women in leadership positions. In 2013, it established an advisory board, consisting of both female and male C-level members, who help the AGV to run projects and improve gender equality at senior career levels. Due to the high rate of female insurance employees who work part-time (42% of women in the sector work part-time, but only 6.4 % of men) and the still widespread belief that leadership needs full and constant involvement, as well as other cultural issues, women are still underrepresented in management positions. Nevertheless, since establishing the advisory board, the proportion of women in C-level positions has risen from 5.7 % to 13.2 %.

  • The AGV strongly believes in the power of role models. The more women in leadership positions there are, the more that will follow. Therefore, since 2012, the AGV and its advisory board regularly hold a major conference for top female managers, which gives them the opportunity to network beyond their own companies and which inspires them to help other women in their company to develop their career. The conference is very popular; it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of top female managers regularly attend. Pleasingly, the AGV’s women in leadership conference has been copied by a lot of companies, which hold similar conferences for their own staff. In 2020, the AGV also launched a virtual mentor talk with female C-level members called “Inspiring female leadership”.

  • The AGV’s women in leadership network gives its members the possibility to share best practices and to learn from each other. Several workshops and surveys have been held, such as women in sales, corporate culture and part-time leadership.

  • To further promote diversity in the insurance industry, the AGV founded a Diversity Expert Group, which comprises the diversity officers of companies. Since 2020, they have been meeting regularly to exchange information about their activities on diversity, inclusion and non-discrimination and related measures. 17 companies or groups of companies are involved in the group. The network meets virtually every three months and exchanges information on good practices and current issues and experiences. The open exchange and discussions in small break-out sessions offer practical added value to daily work. The results of this expert group are made available to all members in order to provide impetus for further and new activities in all member companies.

  • Companies are increasingly focussed on D&I and are committed to an open and tolerant working environment. One company that cooperates with various LGBTI+ initiatives and has also taken part in various campaigns can now call itself an LGBTI+-friendly employer having won a gold PRIDE Champion award. Another company has committed to increasing its number of female executives globally to at least 40% by 2025. The inclusion & diversity strategy of this company goes beyond gender and, depending on the regional focus, also includes ethnic diversity, LGBTIQ+ or different generations.

Greece

Greece

  • There are several initiatives and/or examples of good practices promoting equal opportunities in the workplace and addressing potential labour market inequalities in the insurance sector, such as the pay gap or the seniority gap. These include the implementation of internal codes of conduct, flexible working hours, etc. Insurance companies generally support equal opportunities in the workplace without discrimination on the grounds of sex, focusing on objective criteria such as professionalism/professional experience and specialised/appropriate knowledge and skills.

Ireland

Ireland

  • Insurance Ireland, the Irish insurance association, is a member of the global 30% Club, which is a voluntary organisation of senior professionals committed to reaching at least 30% female representation on boards and in executive leadership teams. The Irish chapter of the club was established in 2015 and, by 2020, representation was 27.4%.

  • Insurance Ireland collaborates regularly with the Centre for Insurance Risk and Data Analytics Studies (CIRDAS) at the Institute of Technology, Carlow and Letterkenny Institute of Technology and the InsurTech Network Centre (INC) to offer a fully funded, online masterclass on race and ethnicity in insurance.

  • Insurance Ireland has an Inclusion Taskforce which meets on a quarterly basis to discuss D&I initiatives within its membership & externally. In 2021, it created four sub-groups for: age and disability; gender; LGBTI+; and race and ethnicity. Each of these sub-groups meets four or five times a year. The aim of each sub-group is to provide an in depth and dedicated focus on each theme and formulate key initiatives throughout the year. 

  • Insurance Ireland publishes a D&I newsletter twice a year.

  • In 2021, Insurance Ireland partnered with its strategic alliance partners Deloitte and Brokers Ireland to carry out a first industry-wide Diversity survey. Its purpose was to understand the current diversity landscape, reflect where the industry is doing well and identify any gaps to enable future improvements. The survey focused on three areas: gender, nationality/ethnicity and age. The results are split into small, medium and large organisations. The aim is to run this survey every year.

Italy

Italy

  • At ANIA, the Italian association of insurance companies, the National Equal Opportunities Commission has been contracted for many years to promote a culture of equal opportunities in the sector through initiatives and annual events aimed at all workers in the sector.

  • At company level, there are many initiatives aimed at ensuring equal opportunities and inclusion in the sector:
    • Recruitment: A company aims for a 50:50 male to female ratio for external hirings and a focus on attracting female talent and women into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) positions. At least 40% of one company’s hirings each year are under 30 years of age.

    • One company runs a project to consolidate and improve the good practices currently used to support staff on maternity/paternity leave (nursery, agreements with schools near the place of work, financial support for nursery fees and nurseries for staff who live a long way from their place of work).

    • Disability in the Company, Advanced Professionalism, Research and Integration (DAPARI) is a scheme that aims to accompany disabled people, in particular the blind or visually impaired, from their school and university education to the world of work.

    • Prevention of gender-based discrimination and violence: One company seeks to prevent and fight any kind of gender-based discrimination and violence through a set of initiatives aimed at protecting, educating and informing employees. These include: a 24/7 helpline; e-learning opportunities and ad hoc measures introduced in the company’s last employee agreement.

    • An updated union agreement at one company introduces equity and equal opportunity measures and benefits for LGBTQI+ employees and families. A company launched a first “debiasing project” to ensure fairness and remove bias during the recruitment process. Another company ran a campaign dedicated to LGBTQI+ inclusion during Pride Week 2021.

    • Since 2019, one company offers all employees access to a mental health counselling service that, over the course of five interviews, offers support in overcoming personal difficulties. A freephone number is also active 24 hours a day for support in case of need. Managers take an online course on preventing of mental distress in teams.

Norway

Norway

  • In 2021, the finance industry launched the “Women in Finance Charter”. The charter is an initiative of the industry itself to increase the proportion of women in leading positions and specialist functions.

  • The financial services association, Finance Norway, has, in cooperation with the trade unions, developed an equality and diversity toolbox that provides examples of various measures that companies can use to promote and ensure gender equality.

  • Finance Norway has, also in cooperation with the trade unions, developed gender equality indicators to measure the situation and developments in the financial industry.

  • According to the collective bargaining agreement in the financial sector, employees are entitled to a salary increase when they return to work after a minimum of five months of parental leave. The aims of the measure are to encourage more fathers to take longer parental leave and at the same time to ensure that the salary of both women and men do not stagnate because of parental leave.

  • Finance Norway has, in cooperation with its member companies, developed guidelines for diversity recruitment for companies to use in their recruitment processes.

Poland

Poland

  • Various companies adopt specific solutions and practices to support D&I. Good company practices in diversity management includes, for example, having anti-discrimination procedures. They also include transparency and objectively measured employee remuneration. Flexible forms of employment, in turn, are a response to the needs of diverse employees, such as people with disabilities or those caring for children or other family members. Employers often decide to set up a helpline or appoint an independent ombudsman.

  • The Diversity Charter is an international initiative supported by the European Commission. Employers that sign commit to implement effective solutions for the development of equal treatment policies and diversity management in the workplace and their dissemination among business and social partners. The Polish Charter of Diversity is coordinated by the Responsible Business Forum. Almost 250 companies, including insurers, are signatories. 2022 marked the tenth anniversary of the Charter in Poland.

  • Examples of actions by individual companies include:
    • A company obtained the first level of “EDGE” gender equality certification and, every quarter, assesses the gender pay gap and makes all pay decisions on that basis.

    • A company’s recruitment advertisements include a short description of the company and its values that emphasises its openness to all candidates, regardless of their origin, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.

    • One of a group’s requirements for preparing succession plans is to include at least one woman for each position covered by the plan.

    • “Better with U: Inclusion and Diversity” is a company-wide programme to support, promote and develop the idea of inclusion and respect for diversity inside and outside the company. The gender, age and abilities diversity teams formed among employees and associates diagnose all areas of the company’s operations and propose solutions aimed at creating a more inclusive work environment. As part of strengthening the activities of groups, regular meetings, workshops and webinars related to diversity and inclusive language, work ergonomics, talent workshops and mutual exchanges of experiences are organised. The company's programme and approach to the area of diversity include employees, clients, job applicants and other stakeholders.

    • One group’s foundation for the professional integration of disabled persons is one of the key projects that makes up its corporate social responsibility programme. Established in 2004, its mission is to support people with disabilities on their path towards a professional career and continue to support them later during their careers.  It focuses on creating conditions for cooperation between its beneficiaries and their employers, breaking down stereotypes and overcoming psychological and physical barriers. In 2021, the foundation helped 96 people with disabilities and conducted workshops for 540 people on building relationships with a person with a disability as a co-worker and client.

Spain

Spain

  • The new collective agreement for the insurance sector (2020-2024) establishes, as one of its main goals, the advancement of equality and conciliation. Some of the key measures agreed include:
    • The Committee for Equal Opportunities and Employment has been established to study the evolution of employment and equal opportunities in the sector and to propose active policies to promote diversity.

    • A paid reduction of working hours has been established for pregnant women after the thirtieth week of pregnancy.

    • Paid leave to attend childbirth preparation courses.

    • Teleworking for pregnant women.

  •  In 2019, UNESPA adopted a set of good practices examples regarding equality between women and men that includes measures on avoiding discrimination in aspects such as selection, training, professional promotion, work-life-balance, joint responsibility and communication and awareness, retribution and the prevention of sexual harassment based on gender. UNESPA plans to regularly update these examples. 

  • An initiative called the EWI Network was launched in the insurance sector, which 44 (re)insurance companies and eight insurance brokers have joined, and which is also promoted by the institutions representing the insurance sector, including UNESPA, the Spanish insurance association. One of its objectives is to accelerate and increase the number of women managers in the sector to make it more sustainable, fairer and also more competitive. An ambitious goal has been set to reach a quota of women managers of close to 40% by 2023.

To this end, good practices implemented by the members of the network are shared in areas such as work-life balance, where there are plans to promote joint responsibility by encouraging the mandatory use of paternity leave or establishing flexible working hours at the beginning and end of the working day or implementing one day a week of teleworking.

In terms of training, there are plans to launch equality awareness campaigns for the entire workforce and, in particular, for recruitment, in order to reduce unconscious biases in the personnel selection process.

Among other issues, it has also been recommended that individual development plans are introduced and that the development of women through support and sponsorship campaigns by the management bodies of companies is monitored.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom

  • The Talent & Diversity Network of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) brings members together to discuss key issues, share best practices and drive change. Every year it publishes a survey, available to participating members, which collates information about the D&I initiatives taken by members.

  • As an employer, the ABI’s inclusion strategy focuses on creating a culture that allows everyone to thrive.

  • An overview of the ABI’s initiatives can be found in its Diversity Hub. Key initiatives include:
    • Job-sharing: As part of its commitment to the “Making Flexible Work’ campaign, the ABI is asking supporting firms to open up the majority of its roles to flexible working, including job-sharing and part-time working.

    • Black, Asian and minority ethnic: The ABI and 38 of its members are among the first wave of insurance and long-term savings firms that have signed up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, as part of an industry-wide commitment to improving opportunities for black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues. Read more about other related initiatives here.


    • LGBTQ+: The ABI’s members are committed to championing LGBTQ+ inclusion and want to support employees to be their authentic selves at work. Read more here.


Future leaders
: The ABI’s award-winning executive development programme, “Future Leaders, ensures a pipeline of diverse talent for the insurance and long-term savings sectors. 

 

 
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Contacts

William Vidonja

Head of conduct of business
+32 2 894 30 55

Danilo Gattullo

Policy advisor
+32 2 896 48 24