I N T E R V I E W
Addressing multicultural inclusion in
the insurance sector – what more must be done?
In conversation with Ajay Mistry, Co-Founder, iCAN
Diversity in the insurance workforce is vital, not only to generate diversity of thought but also to reflect and represent diversity in the wider society.
The Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN) is the first industry wide, volunteer-run network that supports and promotes multicultural inclusion across the insurance industry. From providing recruitment opportunities which help members build lasting careers in the sector, to running initiatives that inspire the next generation of talent, iCAN are key to advancing conversations around representation, diversity, and inclusion in insurance. But there is still a long way to go.
Ahead of Insurance Innovators Summit, 16-17 November, we interviewed Ajay Mistry, Co-Founder, iCAN – The Insurance Cultural Awareness Network to get his thoughts on this crucial topic. The insights below are just the tip of the iceberg. Ajay will be at our Diversity, Inclusion & Allyship Networking Breakfast on day two of the event if you want to find out more and be part of the conversation.
[Insurance Innovators] Why are conversations surrounding multicultural inclusion so important in the insurance industry? What are the main issues that still need addressing?
[Ajay Mistry] “Conversations about multicultural inclusion are so important within the insurance industry because we still have so far to go to achieve equality.”
“We are currently so far behind other industries on this issue, so it is clear what can be achieved with the right level of strategic thinking and action.”
“In terms of the main issues that still need addressing, these would involve a lack of ethnic representation at senior levels and a lack of visible role models in the industry, not only to inspire the next generation but to attract new talent to the industry too.”
“Reflecting our client base is always an important point to raise, and finally, there have been a lot of recent developments regarding the ethnicity pay gap – with many companies now publishing annual pay gap reports. More now needs to be done to help balance this over the coming years.”
[II] How can we improve multicultural inclusion across the insurance industry? What initiatives do iCAN provide to help tackle these issues?
[AM] “The focus should be on recruitment, particularly on issues surrounding the attraction of talent into the right roles, ensuring we are bettering our hiring practices and really spending time understanding how to retain and upskill the best talent for the longer term.”
“It is important for the industry to focus on the data to identify the problems with the current approach and form long-term solutions.”
“In terms of initiatives, we run iCANApply, which helps to connect iCAN members with insurance companies that are currently hiring; INspire, a self-serve mentoring initiative offering cross-industry access to senior executive mentors; and iCANConnect, which promotes Diversity & Inclusion networking across the industry to help form best practices for Employee Resource Groups, Heads of Talent, Heads of HR and D&I.”
[II] Looking ahead, how can the conversation around multicultural inclusion in insurance evolve? What are the ways that people can get involved in networks, such as iCAN?
[AM] “We need to address multicultural inclusion at a much more granular level, as there are a lot of initiatives running across many firms at the moment but very few of them yield tangible results.”
“There should be much more effort going into the evaluation of different initiatives to establish which are successful and which are not – working more collectively as an industry to tackle the ongoing issues.”
iCAN also have a range of Partner Networks that they regularly collaborate with for other areas of DEI and would encourage you to learn more and join their mailing lists:
Ajay Mistry is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of iCAN (The Insurance Cultural Awareness Network) which is an industry-wide independent network that was set up to support multicultural inclusion and career progression across the Insurance sector. They currently have over 3,500 members and run a number of key initiatives to drive change in the industry.
With experience in the last 12 years from Aviva, Aon, Brokerbility and Clear Insurance Management, Ajay is now the Founder & Director of Gambit Partners, a growth agency focused on supporting SMEs & Start-ups with their Sales & Marketing strategies and give them a boost to grow their businesses, develop their marketing channels and improve their online profiles. The agency also Angel invests into great Start-ups to give them the support of a full marketing team from early on.
Ajay is also an Advisory Board Member of the CII’s Society of Insurance Broking (SIB), which is a community of practice for insurance broking professionals that aims to raise the levels of professional knowledge and technical competence, and to assist over 18,000 Broker members in their personal career development at all levels of experience.
Ajay was recently named in the Global 100 Leader list 2022 by Insurance Business, as well as placed number 25 in the Global EMpower Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List 2022.
Want to hear more from Ajay? Join him at the Diversity, Inclusion & Allyship Networking Breakfast at Insurance Innovators Summit being held at QEII Centre, London on 16-17 November 2022.