Diversity and Inclusion  

Protection industry urged to address 'affinity bias'

Protection industry urged to address 'affinity bias'
 Rose St Louis, insurance director at KPMG UK

An insurance director has urged the protection industry to use its “privilege and platform” to help spread a message of diversity and inclusion.

Speaking at a Protection Review event yesterday (October 15) Rose St Louis, insurance director at KPMG UK (pictured), said diversity and inclusion policies alone would not help in the challenge of 'normalising' the issue.

Ms St Louis said: “Every single one of us has a privilege, we all have a platform, I absolutely include myself in there. So my ask is that you use your privilege and your platform to not only serve yourself, but also serve others who neither look like you, think like you, or love like you.”

Ms St Louis also said she had been “impressed” by how a number of organisations had “stepped into the conversation, really challenging themselves around what they can do” and how they can be more diverse and inclusive.

But she added that affinity bias - where we migrate to people who look, sound and think like us - still existed within the sector.

“It just is our comfort, it’s a comfort zone and it’s really difficult to break. And if you look around most of the leadership teams within the UK, they kind of look the same. Not all of them, but many of them do,” she said.

Marketing and talent

Highlighting the issue of diversity in marketing, Ms St Louis recounted: “I had to scroll down four pages [of image search results] before I found a person of colour, and I kept scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, and I couldn’t find a same sex couple or even anyone with a disability.”

She also said: “I’m not suggesting that all of our marketing has to hit the subconscious buying signals of every type of customer out there, but if we’re really, really serious about being inclusive, we have to think about how we can do that, and where we should be thinking outside the box.”

According to Ms St Louis, the industry needed to think about attracting diverse talent in order to “think outside the box”.

She explained: “I’m talking about diversity of thinking here. If we have a whole bunch of people around the table with different experiences and different frames of reference and different lived experiences, all feeding into building new and better propositions, the content they’re going to produce is going to be so, so rich.

“The appeal of our propositions is going to be so much wider, the take-up by all types of consumer is going to have so much further reach.

“And if people can buy those products from us, there’s not going to be a reason why they wouldn’t work for us, and so the cycle continues.”

chloe.cheung@ft.com

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