Doing The Right Thing

Mar 17, 2021

Diversity and inclusion helps us all thrive. We have a responsibility to use our platform as leaders in financial services to advance racial equity. And we are.

The insurance industry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) prompted the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) to partner with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and the Life Insurance Council of New York, Inc. (LICONY) last year for the first-ever Women and Diversity Conference.

It was a huge success. Building on that momentum, ACLI, APCIA and LICONY are hosting the DEI: Expanding Opportunities in Insurance virtual conference, which concludes today.

At last year’s conference, we emphasized speaking out and supporting DEI efforts within the life insurance community. This year, we’re building on that foundation. And the heightened focus this past year on civil rights issues provides greater momentum for our efforts.

The life insurance industry has established our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative with concrete steps to address racial inequities. ACLI was among the first associations to have 100 percent of its Board of Directors commit to the CEO Action Pledge to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

We’re also looking to support impactful public policies that will make a difference in society.

DEI is a critical element in nearly every aspect of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. For example, Build Back Better bonds can be targeted at affordable housing, wider broadband access, and other racial equity issues. Life insurers are very interested in this proposal, as our industry bought 1/3 of the Build America Bonds under President Obama. 

We also strongly back legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Gregory Meeks and Sen. Robert Menendez that would make important changes to advance DEI in corporate leadership.

Our actions regarding DEI are purpose-driven – and smart business. The more women, minorities, and LGBTQ colleagues we have on our staffs and in our boardrooms, the stronger our industry becomes. Diversity produces better outcomes. With a diverse workforce and senior management, life insurers will be able to engage more effectively with a wider pool of prospective customers.

Life insurers are committed to empowering all Americans – regardless of where and how they work, economic status, race, gender, or stage of life. Our unwavering support for these vital DEI initiatives builds on this steadfast commitment.

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 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.