Uniquely Positioned to Advance Equity

Sep 21, 2021

Do you think ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues are hot these days? Consider this:

A Google search for news stories about ESG during 2016 reveals 59,500 articles.

A Google search during 2021 shows nearly 9,000,000 stories!

With rising concerns about climate change, the environmental side of ESG naturally gets most of the attention. As long-term investors and experienced managers of long-term risks for consumers, life insurers are inherently interested in understanding how climate change may impact the customers we serve and the risks we assume. We are actively engaged with domestic and international regulators and lawmakers including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Federal Insurance Office on this crucial issue.

But the social and governance aspects of ESG have also never been more important, given our country’s critical reckoning on racial inequity following the death of George Floyd last year.

By executing social and governance strategic action plans, corporations can help lessen racial and gender economic inequity and close wealth gaps.  

Life insurance companies are uniquely positioned to advance these goals through the products we offer, the investments we make and the positions we take.

Our products build financial certainty and enhance prosperity and financial security across generations. Our investments in underserved communities increase the promise of upward mobility for their residents. Our commitment to financial inclusion provides opportunities for more Americans to access and afford ways to protect their family’s financial future – no matter their race, gender or economic status.  

Much work is underway by the life insurance industry to achieve these vital social and governance measures. Our industry’s commitment is deep and demonstrable. The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has created a plan with concrete steps to address these issues and more in our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity (EERE) Initiative. 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.

ACLI supports the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act, which makes essential changes that will advance diversity and inclusion among corporate leadership. Our support for this legislation dovetails with our conviction that all Americans should have access to the tools and resources that will help them succeed.

Life insurance companies’ core mission is to help people care for their loved ones. Through our commitment to sustainable priorities and the EERE initiative, we will be able to help more Americans protect their families’ financial future.

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.