International Business

Abic invites CEOs to sign diversity pledge

  • Diversity pledge: pictured with the Abic D&I CEO Pledge are, from left, Kirsten Beasley, Patrick Tannock, Renee Bullock-Cann, Michael-Jay Landy and Phil Alvey (Photograph supplied)

The Association of Bermuda International Companies has invited chief executives of all its member companies to sign a pledge on diversity and inclusion.

The pledge includes the implementation of unconscious bias education, to welcome “difficult” conversations” about diversity and to share successful practices.

Patrick Tannock, chairman of Abic and CEO of Insurance at XL Bermuda Ltd, said change had to be driven from the C-suite.

“Diversity and inclusion is not just a catchphrase, I believe that diversity has the power to be transformational for a company and inclusion enhances an organisation’s ability to achieve better results by engaging people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives through participatory decision-making,” Mr Tannock said.

“Executive leadership must lead the charge to change mindsets as to why diversity matters and champion the fact that a diverse workforce measurably improves an organisation’s decision-making, problem-solving, cultural awareness, creativity, innovation, effectiveness and enhances its ability to adapt rapidly and successfully to change.

“It’s also a fact that in order to remain relevant and competitive, a company must attract and retain the best talent. A diverse workforce and inclusive culture are talent magnets.”

Abic’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee has been “engaging with business leaders in an effort to advance dialogue, collaboration and action on D&I within the workplace”.

The committee, which was formed last year, recently hosted a meeting where members were encouraged to commit to prioritising the creation and promotion of a culture of equity within their companies.

At the meeting, members also reviewed the Abic CEO D&I Pledge which was presented by Committee member Renee Bullock-Cann and signed by Mr Tannock on behalf of XL Catlin.

The pledge states in part:

“1. We will continue to make our workplaces trusting places to have complex, and sometimes difficult conversations about diversity and inclusion;

“2. We will implement and expand unconscious bias education;

“3. We will share best — and unsuccessful — practices.”

Kirsten Beasley, chairwoman of Abic’s D&I Committee, led the meeting where members discussed results of surveys conducted among member companies and Claudia Philipsz of Expertise presented on a proposed D&I approach and framework for member companies.

Lisa Robinson, who leads human resources for XL Catlin in Bermuda, shared the company’s vision and approach to D&I, including the design and implementation of a D&I programme, Craig Redcliffe, partner at EY, gave a presentation on the Board Apprentice programme. Board Apprentice is a not-for-profit social franchise dedicated to increasing diversity on boards globally.

Ms Beasley said: “I want to thank those on the committee for their hard work and the thoughtful insights and discussion that led to this first step.

“I credit the leaders in our industry that have had the courage to be the first among what we hope will be many to prioritise the promotion and achievement of diversity and inclusion.”

The ABIC D&I Committee will also support the Dive In Festival — an annual insurance industry initiative that aims to highlight the business case for diverse and inclusive workplaces and provide practical ideas and inspiration for how to bring about positive change. The festival, in its fourth year, is scheduled to take place September 25 to 27 around the world, including in Bermuda.

Members of the Abic D&I Committee are: Richard Winchell, executive director, Abic board; Claude Lefebvre, member, Abic board; Chip Gillis, CEO, Athene Life Re; Natasha Courcy, chief compliance officer, Athene Life Re; David Brown, senior partner, EY Bermuda Ltd; Edith Jaworski, partner, EY Bermuda Ltd; Renee Bullock-Cann, head of retail banking and wealth management and marketing, HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd; Kirsten Beasley, head of healthcare broking, North America, Willis Towers Watson; Michael-Jay Landy, vice-president WNA Bermuda Casualty, Willis Towers Watson; Carla Greaves, senior vice-president, chief excess casualty underwriter, insurance, XL Catlin; Claudia Philipsz, partner, Expertise.