The time is right: take action and do more for D&I

Significant events such as the death of George Floyd in the US have created shock waves that made many companies realise that more needs to be done about race equality, say Ajay Mistry and Kishan Mangat, co-chairs of the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network.

We don’t need to say it, but it is worth acknowledging one more time: 2020 was quite a year. This time last year we didn’t know what was heading our way, and weren’t prepared for what was to come. But what a difference a year makes.

Over the last months, in addition to a global pandemic, which took us to a home-based, virtual world, there were hugely significant events in the diversity and inclusion (D&I) space, which is where we at the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN) come in. The events surrounding the death of George Floyd in the US sent shock waves across the world, and made many companies finally sit up and take notice that something needed to be done when it came to the issue of race equality.

This time last year, we introduced ourselves in this very report. At the time, we asked a number of very valid questions that were relevant to the insurance industry. Those questions focused on the importance of diverse recruitment, and areas such as developing future leaders and role models, and ensuring leadership has an inclusive mindset.

These questions are all still valid today—and are arguably even more important after the year we’ve just had. After the shocks of 2020 progress was made, but there is unquestionably still much more to be done.

“For the first time a lot of companies are reaching out to us for help.”
Ajay Mistry, iCAN

A year of action

At iCAN, 2020 was our year of action, and although it was a tumultuous year for everyone we’re proud that we did take action, and we made a tangible difference in our industry.

We brought together industry D&I leads for the first time with iCAN Connect so they could share ideas and knowledge; we went to fully virtual events—taking a no-holds-barred approach and tackling topics that brought controversy (‘to BAME or not to BAME’); we developed essential resources that quickly became go-to documents for our industry (“The Little Black Book of Anti-Racist Resources”); we launched a series of podcasts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and last but not least, we continued to build our membership base and industry influence using a dynamic programme of events and social media.

Not to bang our own drum, but for the first time a lot of companies are reaching out to us for help, to access our amazing network of members, to understand industry best practice when it comes to race and culture, to get support in setting up their own employee resource groups, or to partner with us to make change happen.

Before this, it was us knocking on their doors telling them they needed to make changes, but now it seems to have turned around.

“We are here for our members, and that will always be a fundamental part of what we do.”
Kishan Mangat, iCAN

What is next for iCAN? What does 2021 bring for us? We don’t believe in half measures, so we can sum it up quite simply: more.

More challenging the status quo, more questioning the norms, more breaking down and pushing beyond barriers. More advising, more supporting, more partnering, more sharing. Even more listening—we are here for our members, and that will always be a fundamental part of what we do, listening to what they need, want and like.

Why more? Because there is still more to do—there always will be.

Like the sound of that? Please reach out and get in touch. Let’s talk and make things happen.

To find out more visit www.i-can.me/

Image courtesy of Shutterstock: Min C. Chiu_GF

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