Since 2004, people across the US have celebrated National Black Business Month each August. The month supports, recognizes, celebrates, and honors black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. And when it comes to diversity, the insurance industry has lots to celebrate — and there is lots of growth still to come.
Read on to learn more about how we can celebrate National Black Business Month in the insurance industry.
Celebrate National Black Business Month in the Insurance Industry
Diversity is growing in the insurance and risk management industry. In 2010, the percentage of black Americans working in insurance was 9%. By 2019 this figure had increased to 12.4%. And the rate of nonwhite insurance industry employees rose to 21.4% in 2019 from 15.3% in 2010.
Our industry can do more, though. We can work proactively to increase diversity at all levels of insurance and in each sector. Here are some ways the industry focuses on growing diverse representation:
The recent launch of the Black Insurance Industry Collective (BIIC). The BIIC is a non-profit designed to promote and accelerate the advancement of black insurance professionals. In addition to access to networking and educational opportunities, the BIIC is also creating a leadership development program. Partnering with the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, the newly designed leadership program will focus on teaching career progression skills.
NAAIA continues to be a strong industry resource. Founded in 1997, NAAIA, or National African American Insurance Association, has 21 chapters across the country. NAAIA’s mission is to empower and celebrate African American insurance professionals. The organization supports current insurance professionals and students through its scholarships and student contests.
Major carriers, brokers, and agencies have diversity policies. Most employers of choice will have a diversity statement and policy. You can check out some major carriers and their diversity policies when researching which companies to partner with or promote. One way to support black-owned businesses is to work with companies that echo your diversity beliefs.
Industry events feature DEI speakers. Conferences and seminars in the insurance industry often feature keynote sessions by speakers who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some may even have full educational tracks about diversity topics in the workplace. And other events, like Lloyd’s annual Dive-In Festival, are entirely designed around increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry. Attending these events or keynote sessions educates you and is a way to show support for DEI initiatives.
Scholarships for risk management or finance majors attending HBCUs. CNA Insurance partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to provide scholarships for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). Other scholarships and internship programs are available to support students wishing to pursue risk management and insurance.
Insurers tap into outside resources to develop DEI initiatives. Insurance companies, large agencies, and brokerages have learned they can’t do it all in-house when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many have teamed up with outside resources, like colleges and universities, to administer some portions of their DEI plans. A recent example is Alliant’s new scholarship program designed to accelerate the growth of Black insurance professionals. Alliant partnered with Southern University and A&M College, and the Louisiana Department of Insurance to create the degree program and internship. Programs like these support the current risk and insurance workforce and students considering a career in insurance.
Ways to Support National Black Business Month
There are lots of ways agents and brokers can support National Black Business Month in the insurance industry:
- Consider attending DEI-focused sessions at the next conference you attend — and engage in the discussion.
- Support a scholarship or internship program through HBCUs, INROADS, or one similar to Alliant’s program.
- Attend webinars and seminars hosted by BIIC, NAAIA, or another industry collective aimed at growing diversity and inclusion.
- Pay attention to the DEI policies of the carriers you work with — and align your business with companies that match your ethics.
Finally, join a resource group for independent agents and brokers like the American Agents Alliance. Network with others to learn about and influence change in the industry. Being a member of a national group gives you an avenue for advocacy and more perspective on critical industry issues like DEI initiatives.