BY ZAKA KHALIQ, Lagos
Insurance experts have advocated for gender diversity as well as persuading vibrant young graduates to join insurance industry to optimise growth and development of the sector.
The experts, who spoke at the virtual ‘Dive In Festival in Nigeria 2020’ conference at the weekend, deliberated extensively on gender diversity and its impact on global and local economic growth.
The founder, Funmi Omo Initiative, Mrs. Funmi Omo, while speaking on diversity and inclusion in the Nigerian Insurance Industry said women should be seen as a backbone of any economy and as such, they need to be given more attention.
From the insurance standpoint, she said, the industry need to have a more structural and deliberate approach to thrive, adding that, diversity is very good as it brings balance.
On creating a favourable atmosphere for the younger generation in the Insurance Industry, Funmi Omo, who was the immediate past managing director/CEO, African Alliance Insurance Plc, said: “leaders have to step up to make the insurance sector more welcoming and structured. They need to be flexible and avoid being rigid and also take advantage of the newness and freshness of the younger generation. Do not micromanage them, let them explore, allow them breathe and make their own mistakes so they can see a future in the industry.”
Similarly, the executive director, Leadway Assurance Company Ltd, Adetola Adegbayi, stated that, there are a lot of young people out there with potentials and prospects, willing to make a difference in insurance industry, but could not do so, because of the structure of the industry. The older generation, she said, should allow the younger ones, especially the females, explore, so that, they have good hands to handover to, when they are no longer active.
Similarly, she advocated for equal opportunities, equal pay, female empowerment, advocacy and commitment from leadership in firms to develop and nurture females as they rise to leadership.
Stating that her insurance firm is already inculcating gender diversity in its recruitment process as well as giving brilliant youths a chance to succeed in the industry, she enjoined other practitioners to have a blend of youths and females at the management level to enhance productivity.
The group MD/CEO, African Reinsurance Corporation(Africa Re), Dr. Corneille Karekezi, on his part, said: “We are aware that women are not well represented in the workplace and as such at Africa Re Group, we make special provision for women inclusion in nomination for senior roles, provision for tribal diversity and inclusion to drive equality within the corporation.“
He stressed that the mandate for them at his firm is, integrating Africa and to achieve this, it is important that diversity and inclusion is promoted.
‘Dive In’ is a global movement in the insurance sector to support the development of inclusive workplace cultures. Its mission is to enable people to achieve their potential by raising awareness of the business case and promoting positive action for diversity in all its forms.
As a build-up to this event, the ‘Dive In’ team conducted a survey to understand the issues female in the insurance sectors are facing, the possible limitations on their rise to leadership and how they are navigating these challenges. This survey showed that despite the ambition to attain a top-level in career; young female professionals in the Insurance sector are largely constrained by inadequate opportunities relative to gender bias, unequal pay and harassment.
2019’s Dive In Festival include a broad range of events hosted around the world aimed at driving action and change across the industry. Inaugural events in countries such as Nigeria discuss the importance of empowering women by listening to the journeys of female managing directors.
This year’s festival is supported by several partners including AIG, AON, Aviva, AXA, Chubb, CNA, DLA Piper, Kennedys, Lloyd’s, Markel, Marsh & Guy Carpenter, MS Amlin, RenaissanceRe, RMS, Travelers, Tokio Marine Kiln and Willis Towers Watson.