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Dive In: The Round-Up

05 October 2017


Did you know only 2% of today’s graduates want to work in insurance?

It’s a concerning statistic, unequivocally demonstrating that the market must address its attraction strategies in the growing war for talent. But this is not just an issue of entry-level proportion. The future of the insurance industry needs vested interest from all generations – something diversity of thought and inclusive hiring strategies can encourage.

This was the key message at the 2017 Lloyd’s Dive In Festival, a global event celebrating the importance of diversity and inclusion within the insurance industry. The goal? To promote insurance as a sector of choice for everyone and a true reflection of the many societies it serves. As sponsors of the festival, Oliver James Associates attended events in London, Manchester, Dublin, Milan, Paris and Singapore, with talks covering everything from mental health and gender bias to families, flexible working and age diversity. Here’s our view on the festival’s most salient topics, and the talks that promoted them…

Mental Health

'Dive In and Speak Up for Mental Health'. With a reported 60% of people now experiencing mental health issues because of work, this session discussed the need to address mental health proactively and without judgement, and how such lessons can translate into happier, more successful workplaces. We also learned about industry practices that are helping to end the stigma, like insurers signing the Time to Change pledge – a vow to end mental health discrimination.

Led by Dr. Mark Harvey, ‘Got Grit? Lessons in Resilience and Coping' offered some of the festival’s most profound insights on resilience at work. Harvey’s discourse mainly centered on city life, exploring the correlation between success and stress. He went on to provide practical tips on spotting signs of stress in colleagues (e.g presenteeism, changes in behaviour) and how to handle difficult conversations – as well as the steps we can take to promote awareness and acceptance in the workplace.

Families and Parenting

Hosted at Liberty by My Family Care speakers Jennifer Liston-Smith and Oliver Black, ‘Managing the Parenting Transition’ opened with some food for thought: you know the trepidation of returning to work after a holiday? Imagine that feeling returning to work after a year off on maternity. Jennifer and Oliver reinforced the notion of helping employees have both careers and families, resulting in greater loyalty, engagement and productivity at work.

‘Family-friendly Organisations – What Does Good Look Like?’ Miller’s talk on the family-friendly organisation was facilitated by Sarah Davies, former Ops Director at AEGIS and COO of Aspen, alongside a panel of distinguished industry experts. This session explored recent statistics on the familial workforce, where one in three parents would elect to take a pay cut in favour of spending more time with their children. It showed the barriers that need to be broken down in reconsidering what this market values.

Future of Work

Alison Maitland hosted a popular talk entitled ‘Adapting to the New World of Work’, which referenced the importance of considering everyone’s needs in the shifting work context. Companies benefit from going beyond conventional strategies and into sustainability, smart working, rewarding output, and challenging the bias that presence equals commitment. Also discussed was the impact of insurers not competing with industries perceived to be more progressive, and the resulting struggle to attract willing talent.


During 'Mind the Gap: Skills for 21st Century Insurance' Practical Futurist, Andrew Grill, dissected the connection between diversity and commerciality, using Trov as his frame of reference. Trov is an AXA-backed instant insurance product aimed predominantly at the millennial market; most of the audience, filled with insurers, hadn’t yet heard of it. Grills’ view was that innovation only succeeds when teams combine diverse points of views and can tune into their target markets. The advent of Trov demonstrated how such innovation can pay dividends to an insurer's proposition in the market.

‘Size Doesn’t Matter’ was a panel discussion presented by Kate Headley, The Clear Company, Susana Berlevy, Ed Broking, Joanna Browning, Markel, and William Wilson, Miller. Underpinned by a rationale that empowering employees doesn’t require a huge budget, the session highlighted why it is beneficial for insurers of all sizes to encourage employees to drive their own ideas and initiatives. Employer authenticity was described as key to the success of this inclusive working practice, ensuring the best chance of meaningful participation and implementation.

It was refreshing to hear Lloyd’s refer to insurance as an industry that has the potential to ‘empower human progress’ with a renewed approach to talent attraction – and we’re inclined to agree. However, for this to be achieved, insurers must welcome innovation with open arms, alongside their social responsibility to the global community. Now, it’s about embracing the intersectionality of generational talent and the diversity of thought that all employees bring. As a leading recruiter within this space, Oliver James will support insurance clients on the path to improving diversity and inclusion, promoting careers within the industry for all.

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