Closing America’s Opportunity Gaps

Jul 2, 2020

[A version of this article appeared on LinkedIn]

Our country faces a pivotal moment to address systemic injustices faced by African Americans that lead to economic disparities. 

Last month, I was invited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to represent the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) on a national steering committee to help develop an action plan to address inequality of opportunity in the United States. Last week, the Equality of Opportunity Initiative kicked off with a virtual town hall, involving leaders from the public and private sector discussing some of the challenges driving inequality in our society.

This conversation identified the barriers faced by African Americans that result in inequality of opportunity in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and the criminal justice system. Many of the economic disparities present in our country are often the result of the inequity in these areas.

As we continue to have what must be many conversations, an important part of the solution must be strategies to achieve financial security. 

Consider this: one-third of financial inequality in the United States could be accounted for by the differences in financial education, according to researchers at the Wharton School.

Financial inclusion means making sure that all communities have access to the information and products they need to protect their financial futures. The life insurance industry is committed to taking meaningful actions towards identifying and introducing new policies that will provide financial education and security for all Americans – especially those who have been held down by unjust systems.

This is an issue that is bigger than one industry, sector, or sphere of our society.  Each of us – from our unique vantage point – has a role to play to tear down discriminatory systems that lead to oppression. We here at ACLI are actively engaging on all the ways the life insurance industry can play our part in closing the income inequality gap.

You can view the recording here of the virtual town hall, the National Summit on Equality of Opportunity.

#EqualityofOpportunity #FinancialSecurityforall

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 94 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.