18 October 2019,Bengaluru- AIG, Anviti Insurance Brokers, Lloyd’s and Swiss Re held Bengaluru’s first-ever Dive In event as part of the global festival for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the insurance sector. Hosted at Swiss Re Bangalore on Thursday, 26th September 2019, the day-long event was attended by more than 100 participants, including CEOs, Chief Human Resources Officers, D&I and HR professionals from across insurance companies in India.
AIG, Anviti Insurance Brokers, Lloyd’s and Swiss Re held Bengaluru’s first-ever Dive In event as part of the global festival for Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the insurance sector. Hosted at Swiss Re Bangalore on Thursday, 26th September 2019, the day-long event was attended by more than 100 participants, including CEOs, Chief Human Resources Officers, D&I and HR professionals from across insurance companies in India. Many employees also participated in the event. The discussions included authentic dialogue and personal stories on the importance of diversity & inclusion within the business community and society at large.
Dive In is a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures. Its mission has been to enable people to achieve their potential by raising awareness of the business case for and promoting positive action to support diversity in all its forms. After three successful Dive In festivals since 2015, each with an increasing global presence, 2019’s Dive In festival was the first to include an event in Bengaluru, India – an important, growing insurance market and hub for industry professionals as well as a place where diversity and equality are the topic of conversations inside and outside of the workplace.
The themes of the event addressed gender diversity, conscious and unconscious bias, disability inclusion, LGBTQ+ inclusion, cultural diversity, women in leadership, mental health and generational diversity.
Commenting on the importance of diversity and inclusion as reflected in discussions at the event:
Jonathan Pipe, CEO & Principal Officer, Anviti Insurance Brokers, said, “Working in different cultures has made me understand how people work and has made me sensible towards my colleagues’ priorities. Studies show from far more eloquent people, the business upside, the innovation and profits, but I wish that we didn’t have to be talking about profits. I wish we were doing it because it’s the right thing. Profits may come, may not come – what I want to do is to create an environment where people feel safe, not threatened and not discriminated against.
When you have people across ethnicities in your organization, you focus on facts and make unbiased decisions. I believe that the hierarchical barriers need to be broken and people working with you should be allowed to speak their minds and inclusive decisions should be made at every step. This makes a crucial difference in the way you handle business.”
Amit Kalra, MD & Head, Swiss Re Bangalore, said, “The objective of Dive In is to celebrate the spirit of diversity. Though we have a long way to go, I am happy that there has been quite a lot of traction towards this movement in India. Nowadays, corporates are taking initiatives towards Diversity & Inclusion agendas. Firms understand that Diversity & Inclusion have strong business implication as well. In order to be successful in the future, companies need to be innovative, agile, customer-centric, and a diverse and inclusive workplace culture leads to that. We are here to understand what is limiting us and how we can break those barriers. The transformation is an on-going process and inclusiveness is something we must strive for continuously.”
Shankar Garigapathy, CEO & Country Manager, Lloyd’s India, said, “Lloyd’s has consistently emphasized the importance of Diversity &Inclusion in the organization. According to a culture survey we conducted among 6000 participants last month, we found that 8% of respondents witnessed sexual harassment at work over the past 12 months; however, just 45 % felt they would feel comfortable raising a concern. 40% of the respondents felt under excessive pressure to perform at work, whilst 24% had observed excessive consumption of alcohol during the past 12 months. 22% of the respondents have seen people in their organization turn a blind eye to inappropriate behavior. We, at Lloyds have introduced a 5 point action plan to further accelerate the pace of change, and tackle the issues highlighted through the culture survey.”
Raji Arun, HR Director, AIG, stated “Talent is our industry’s greatest resource, and it is critical to foster a culture of inclusion that attracts, develops and retains the best people. As an industry, we can do this by building acceptance for and taking action on diversity and inclusion through events like this one. At AIG, we do this through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which act as a platform for people to come together and work towards achieving inclusion across dimensions of diversity – representing different genders, physical abilities, LGBT identities, generations and more. Through our ERGs, along with other employee engagement, we are enhancing vibrancy, energy and acceptance in the workplace in India and across the company.”
Aruna Newton, Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion, Infosys, said “Inclusion could have a different definition for an individual and a group. Acceptance and being you can be a one man’s definition of inclusion. It takes a lot be make every person in the world feel included. Equal opportunity workplace is still a big challenge in the country. The idea is to create playing fields that allow everyone to play a part and creating context for someone to participate. And that’s when inclusion begins.”
And, Akkai Padmashali, who is a transgender activist, said, “Transgender as a community struggles from social rejection. Our family, friends, siblings and institutions around us do not accept us or make us feel included. We are made to feel lower than the untouchables. We just want to enjoy the basic rights that every human has – access to education, earn enough to take care of ourselves, own a house. We as a community are fighting against so many phobias. There are traditional identities existing in the universe and I want to request the insurance industry to revisit the insurance intervention in our community.”
Respected industry figures participated in Dive In’s thought-provoking programming in Bengaluru in several ways:
A panel discussion on The Business of Diversity & Inclusion with Shankar Garigapathy – CEO & Country Manager, Lloyds India, Raji Arun – HR Director, AIG, Sumit Chadda – Head of Enterprise Shared Services, AXA, XL, Amit Kalra – MD & Head, Swiss re Bangalore, Jonathan Pipe – CEO & Principal Officer, Anviti Insurance Brokers led by Runjhun Malhotra – L&D consultant, Swiss Re
A panel discussion on Beyond numbers: Why a culture of Inclusion is imperative! with Ram Sinha – Co-founder of Pride Circle, Suresh Ramdas – India LGBTQ Lead, Aruna Newton – Global Head, Diversity & Inclusion, Infosys, Nirmala Menon – Founder & CEO, Interweave consulting led by Shreya Krishnan – VP, Marketing & Communications, Anviti Insurance Brokers
Swiss Re Institute’s (SRI) study on Why gender equality matters for insurance was discussed, anchored by Rajeev Sharan, Sr. Economist SRI and Jonathan Anchen, Head SRI Research &Data Support
Breakout session on Inclusion, Mindsets and Navigating Bias by Jacinta Jayachandran – Managing Partner – Transcendix & Founder, Sekai Solutions
Breakout session on LGBTI+: Visible, Valuable, Included! with Akkai Padmashali – Transgender Activist & Motivational Speaker, Ram Sinha – Co-founder of Pride Circle & Suresh Ramdas – India LGBTQ Lead