The Road to Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity

In today’s “get it done, what comes next” hyperspeed world, it’s not easy to find time for reflection. But from time to time we need to pause, gather our thoughts and ensure we’re headed in the right direction.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, ACLI just conducted its first-ever virtual annual conference. And after two days of engaging sessions with life insurance industry leaders, I am more certain than ever that our aim is true.

During our conference I was honored to introduce ACLI’s Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative, which offers concrete steps to achieve greater economic empowerment of financially underserved communities across the country.

Life insurers are committed to implementing this initiative. But there’s no quick fix. America’s racial fault lines are deep. There’s a lot to overcome, and the journey will be long.

That’s why it was especially gratifying during the conference to hear from U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Their messages of hope and resilience assured me that we are on the right path.

Rep. Clyburn spoke about how America’s pursuit of perfection is never ending. Progress takes time, and along the way faults will arise. But our greatness will be determined by how well we repair those faults, he said.

Secretary Rice discussed how businesses can help ease economic inequality. She noted that successful companies need to ensure that a growing economy doesn’t leave people behind.

Her message dovetails with our resolve to find new ways to make our financial protection products more accessible and affordable for all Americans.

There’s no question about the commitment of life insurers to address racial and economic inequities that have vexed our country for too long.

The road to economic empowerment and racial equity will be challenging. But with an unwavering commitment for the long journey, we will arrive.  

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Susan Neely

Susan Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation's leading trade association dedicated to providing products and services that contribute to Americans' financial and retirement security. 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.

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