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Leading change:

A modern and diverse industry

Location: U.K. Wide

Building a Modern and Diverse Industry


a diverse industry


workplaces for all


the charge for gender equality

While financial services is not traditionally known for its diversity, the insurance and long-term savings industry is now leading the way for change.

The Association of British Insurers and its members believe they have a duty to create an inclusive industry that welcomes and supports employees from every type of background. 

Recognition of success 

ABI member and insurance provider Lloyds Banking Group was recently named the country’s most inclusive employer by charity Stonewall.

Supporting the promotion of senior women 

The ABI has signed the Women in Finance Charter which commits firms to increasing the number of women in senior roles. Furthermore, Mark Wilson, CEO of Aviva, was the first FTSE 100 CEO to sign up to 30% of board members being women by 2020.

Encouraging people of all ages into the industry 

Aviva runs a number of initiatives to recruit and retain its over-50s workforce, including advertising campaigns specifically aimed at recruiting older job seekers. At the other end of the age spectrum, Direct Line Group supports Pearson College's “Rotational Degree Apprenticeship” scheme, enabling school-leavers to complete a degree in Business Management while participating in a three year apprenticeship programme.

View the whole story

The ABI: leading the way for the insurance sector

  • The ABI and 29 of its members were some of the first signatories to the Women in Finance Charter – the commitment by the Treasury and financial services firms to increase the number of women in senior roles.
  • The ABI has set targets for the number of women in its management team and demands gender balanced long-lists from recruiters for management roles.
  • As part of the “HeForShe” campaign – which promotes gender equality – ABI Director General, Huw Evans, pledged to mentor two women from the ABI’s young professionals programme and the ABI Future Leaders executive development programme.
  • The ABI is also strengthening its commitment to LGBT+ inclusion by partnering with  OUTstanding - a global professional network - to support employees internally through mentoring and leadership programmes. ABI member, Direct Line Group, is also participating in this mentoring programme.


ABI members signed the Women in Finance Charter


to LGBT+ inclusion

  • Senior figures from ABI member companies were named in the 2016 OUTstanding TOP 100 list of LGBT executives: Angela Darlington, Chief Risk Officer of Aviva; Jan Gooding, global inclusion director of Aviva; and Nick Major, chief underwriting officer, global corporate UK, Zurich Insurance. Other executives were named as vocal allies of the LGBT community in the workplace: Paul Geddes, CEO of Direct Line; Sarah Morris, Chief People Officer of Aviva and Karin Cook, Group Director, Operations, Lloyds Banking Group. 
  • The ABI sits on the steering group of the “DiveIn Festival”, a global insurance initiative focused on driving diversity and inclusion across the sector and which provides practical ideas for what employers might do to accelerate change.

Lloyds Banking Group: Britain’s most inclusive employer

Insurance provider and ABI member Lloyds Banking Group was recently named by Stonewall as employer of the year. Lloyds has prioritised diversity and equality - pledging that 40 per cent of top jobs will be held by women by 2020 and taking the step of including gender dysphoria in its private medical benefit provision. Andrew Bester, Lloyds’ Inclusion and Diversity Executive Sponsor, was named in this year’s Management Today “Agents of Change” list of executives promoting gender diversity in the workplace.

AXA: inclusive parental leave policies

In 2017 AXA launched its first global inclusive parental leave and support policy, actively supporting same-sex couples and adoptive and single parents. All parents are entitled to four weeks fully paid leave, with the primary care giver entitled to 16 weeks fully paid leave.

Aviva: supporting a diverse workforce

Aviva, which has a significant presence in Yorkshire, recently took on the main sponsorship of York Pride – the popular North Yorkshire event which raises awareness of LGBT issues – and it is promoting its internal LGBT network, “Aviva Pride”.

Aviva – also a Stonewall Top 100 employer - has created the role of Global Inclusion Director – the business’ first director level role with a full time focus on inclusion and diversity. The company has gone so far to promote diversity that it has threatened to terminate contracts with a dozen companies that fail to promote women to senior positions. This is consistent with its “30% Club” commitment, which pledges that 30 per cent of its Board will be female by 2020.  

Aviva also runs a number of initiatives to recruit and retain its over-50s workforce, including: advertising campaigns specifically aimed at recruiting older job seekers and reviewing language and imagery in all their recruitment materials; raising awareness and understanding of the challenges facing carers within their workforce; and refreshing their apprenticeship offering to include all age groups. 

Ken’s story: joining the sector later in his career

“I was a civil servant for 38 years working in London and then Scotland before moving to Yorkshire due to my wife relocating her role and the family’s desire to move to York. In July 2014 at the age of 56, I joined the Aviva Claims Team on a temporary contract. I was able to bring skills from my previous job into this new role.

Today I am a permanent staff member. After requesting flexible working, I now work my hours over four days to make up my full time hours, which means I get every Wednesday off. The break in the week keeps me refreshed and gives me a good work/ life balance – allowing my wife and I to spend more quality time together.

My job role with Aviva involves answering a wide variety of customer calls. Often they are calling to make a claim due to a bereavement, a terminal or critical illness. Every day is interesting and rewarding and I feel that I am making a difference to our customers at what is often a very difficult time for them.”

The benefits of a diverse insurance industry: Huw Evans, Director General, ABI

“Improving the insurance and long-term savings sector’s diversity and inclusion is not just a “nice to have”, but is central to its future success. The sector can never realise its true potential and be fully fit for the future until its workforce makes the most of all the talent that exists within Britain. While we’re making steady progress, we’re not complacent and we know we still have a long way to go - whether that’s representation of women in leadership roles, perception among graduates or inclusiveness to minorities. We are determined that the ABI and its member businesses should lead change.”  
Winter 2017
If you have any questions please contact publicaffairsteam@abi.org.uk or +44 (0) 207 600 3333
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