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ABI unveils industry progress on DEI and urges insurance and long-term savings sector: Don’t get left behind

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With good progress on improving board diversity and setting targets and insights on neurodiversity, but a slower pace in driving forward apprenticeships, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) is calling on insurance and long-term savings firms to not get left behind on DEI. 

One year on from launching our ambitious Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Blueprint, setting out how we plan to improve DEI across the sector over the next five years, we have published an update on our progress against the three priorities: Attract, Grow and Advance.   

The industry has improved efforts to understand neurodiversity and attract neurodiverse people.

Almost half (47%) of insurance and long-term savings firms now collect data on neurodiversity within their organisation, which increased from 40% in 2021 and 27% in 2020. And almost a quarter (24%) of our members now have a specific policy in place to support neurodiverse employees in the workplace, up from 14% in 2021.

Our collaboration with the Group for Autism, Insurance, Investment and Neurodiversity (GAIN) has been a focus of our work on neurodiversity and many of our members are GAIN members too. During Neurodiversity Celebration Week we participated in and supported a GAIN-led cross-industry campaign, ‘Creating Pathways to Neuroinclusion’, which included sharing educational materials, events and testimonials from neurodiverse people working in insurance and long-term savings.  

A key target of the Blueprint was to secure at least 50 signatories to the government’s Women in Finance Charter and Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, and this goal has been met at 50 and 57 signatories respectively.  

Our data collections show that these charters, as part of a whole suite of initiatives, are having a clear, tangible impact on advancing DEI in the industry. The Women in Finance Charter has helped to boost senior female representation, with the number of women on boards increasing steadily from 19% in 2017 to 32% in 2022. Representation of women within executive teams has also increased from 25% in 2021 to 29% in 2022.  

We’ve also seen an increase in black and ethnic minority representation at board level within firms, up from 2% in 2021 to 6% in 2022. There is still lots more work to be done to improve ethnic diversity in financial services, but this increase is encouraging.  

As part of our efforts to advance understanding of DEI and effectively track progress, we’ve improved the quality of the data we collect and have expanded its scope. This includes confirming four new participating companies and increasing our efforts to encourage smaller firms to take part. We have also collated guidance and best practice for members to encourage further participation.  

However, progress has stalled when it comes to apprenticeships. In 2022, we pledged to double the number of apprenticeships across the sector to 2,500 by 2025, and we need faster and more focused action if we’re going to achieve this goal. Our latest data shows the number of apprenticeships offered by ABI members stood at 1,231 in 2022. Apprenticeships play a vital role in boosting socio-economic diversity, and efforts to hit this target will be a key priority in the year ahead. We’ll continue to work closely with our members to understand the barriers firms are facing.  


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Hannah Gurga, Director General, ABI, said:

“It’s encouraging to see the progress our industry has made this year. Attracting more neurodiverse people to our industry, growing the number of members signed up to DEI charters, and advancing how we and our members collect data is something we should all be proud of. 

 “But we know we need to do more if we’re to succeed in building a workforce that truly reflects the diverse society we serve. 2024 must be a year of action where we accelerate progress and broaden perspectives. Some businesses are further ahead than others and to make a real difference we must move forward together. 



Yvonne Braun, Executive Sponsor for DEI, ABI, said:

“We said last year that the insurance and long-term savings industry wants to be the most diverse, equitable and inclusive sector of the UK economy. We knew this was a bold mission statement, but I’m pleased to see the progress we are making as an industry.  


“We also know that we’re doing better in some areas than others. There can be no room for complacency on DEI and I look forward to continuing to work closely with our members and stakeholders as we seek to deliver on our mission. Collaboration is vital and we’re urging the whole sector to maintain this momentum and not get left behind on DEI.”   


Notes to Editors   

*ABI DEI data collection 2022 

'For more information, please contact the Press Office on [email protected]

Last updated 11/10/2023