Don’t be afraid to rattle cages, says diversity champion

21-08-2018

Don’t be afraid to rattle cages, says diversity champion

Gareth Eggle, principal of Eggle Consulting

Insurtech companies have a unique opportunity to engrain diversity into their businesses from an early stage, says Gareth Eggle, principal, Eggle Consulting, who will chair a panel at Intelligent InsurTECH Europe 2018.

Companies must realise that the search for a more diverse workforce should not be considered a problem to solve, or a box-ticking exercise, but rather an opportunity to create an environment in which the status quo is constantly challenged and a company will be better equipped for that process in the long run.


Insurtech companies and startups have a unique opportunity to set themselves apart in this regard.

That is the view of Gareth Eggle, principal of Eggle Consulting, who will chair a panel on talent and diversity at Intelligent InsurTECH Europe 2018, which will take place in October in London.

Eggle works with insurance entities of all sizes, from two-person startups to global entities employing hundreds of thousands of people. He also works as a professional and business mentor supporting Startup Boot Camp, the Next Generation Insurance Network, and the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network, as well as working directly with school and university students.

Eggle believes that addressing inequalities in gender equality and diversity can also be key to how to tackle a number of other issues including the dearth of middle management talent, why for many people the insurance industry is not an attractive place to work, and the threats and opportunities of Brexit, among other things.

“The customer base is changing, and companies need to change quickly to keep up.”

“This should never be a box-ticking exercise, that will not get worthwhile results. Instead, it should be a case of getting people to change their beliefs; they we all need them to be challenged to be assured they are robust and, in the process, you can create a culture of change,” he says.

“It is not about filling up the echo chamber talking about the topic, it is about creating an alternative mindset.”

 

New policies

He praises the approach some companies have taken in this regard. Some insurers and reinsurers have adopted robust policies designed to make their workforce more diverse in all ways. Some, such as Beazley, have appointed in-house entrepreneurs specifically with the remit of questioning how things are done and shaking things up.

“It is important to have people willing to rattle the cages and challenge beliefs. The customer base is changing, society is changing, and companies need to change quickly to keep up.”

Eggle stresses that the insurance industry is facing a whole raft of challenges at the moment from a more fluid and less loyal workforce, a poor image in the eyes of potential recruits and the wider political and economic uncertainties as a result of Brexit and the Trump administration. The risk landscape is also changing fast.

To better solve these problems, insurers need a more diverse workforce capable of thinking differently about problems, he believes.

“How do we attract those different people, ranging from real techies who want to work for Google to switched-on kids who never went to university but can solve problems in very different ways. How do we convince those people that insurance is a really exciting place to work?”

Eggle admits there are no easy wins and it might be a case of picking battles for now, but the image of the industry is something he is very passionate about. He is hoping the panel discussion he is chairing can generate ideas that could revolutionise the image of the industry.

“There is no Holy Grail but if we strive for diversity of perspective and diversity of thought it can only become an opportunity to solve some of the problems we face,” he says. “You have to take a risk with some of this stuff, but it is a risk we all need to take together.”


Gareth Eggle will offer more of his own thoughts on this issue and will chair the panel covering the topic at Intelligent InsurTech Europe, which will take place in October in London. Find out more here

Eggle Consulting, Gareth Eggle, Insurtech, Intelligent InsurTECH Europe 2018, London, Insurance, Reinsurance

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