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We need to have honest conversations about LGBT+ inclusion

Benjamin Scotter, Co-Chair of Aviva PrideTo introduce myself, my name is Benjamin Scotter. I’m a Private Clients Underwriter during the day; and I also Co-Chair the Aviva Pride network – our well established LGBT+Allies employee network at Aviva. The community group consists of over 1,200 employees in 6 different countries (and growing!), and membership sprawls from the front line, all the way through the organisation to the Group Exec – headed up by our exec sponsor, Angela Darlington Group CRO, and OUTstanding top Ally, Mark Wilson, Group CEO.

Aviva Pride marks LGBT History Month across our local sites, on our company calendars and on our company intranet. Chances are if you work for Aviva, you’ve probably heard the noise, and seen some activity. It’s important to Aviva Pride to mark LGBT History Month because of some of the inspiring changes that have happened in our company.

Incidentally, similar to the origins of insurance, Aviva Pride started in coffee shops and bars. Collections of likeminded colleagues met offsite, because they felt it was most safe to do so. The common ground of working in the sector, but also sexual orientation and gender identity brought the colleagues together with the motive of supporting each other, and also other employees of the company. Brave moves were taken to bring these ethically motivated values inside the organisation, despite challenges being faced.

Benjamin Scotter, Co-Chair of Aviva Pride; Mark Wilson, Group CEO; Rob Gardner, York Aviva Pride Lead; Sarah Morris, Group Chief People Officer

Benjamin Scotter, Co-Chair of Aviva Pride; Mark Wilson, Group CEO; Rob Gardner, York Aviva Pride Lead; Sarah Morris, Group Chief People Officer

Last year we celebrated our 10th Birthday by attending 9 different local Pride parades in the UK and Ireland. We launched our Pride specific campaign, #OUTsurance. And along with Aon, we were an active member of TeamPride, a collection of sponsors campaigning hard for more inclusive sport. Today we have lots of members across our locations, and over 5,000 visible allies doing one small thing (like wearing a lanyard) to show their support for LGBT.

In 2018, Aviva has held its status as a Stonewall Top 100 Employer. We’re very proud of this, but we can’t ignore that our position is lower than last year. And we’re also the only insurer in the index. The sector can’t afford to lose out on unlocking and attracting the best talent from different backgrounds; and we can only avoid that by embracing diversity. We should have honest conversations to identify the issues, and share best practice amongst ourselves. Networks like LINK (LGBT Insurance Network) are fantastic tools for collaboration – after all, I’m sure the challenges our organisations face are fairly similar.

To quote Mark, it’s the critical mass of people that inspire the changes. We must work harder, and we must do better.

Last updated 15/02/2018