Liberty Mutual's Dawn Frazier-Bohnert: Insurance industry has "burning need" to support D&I
joel lesko
December 4, 2019

Excellent article in Insurance Business. Not a magazine I usually read (!) but the interview with Ms. Frazier-Bohnert is important.

“An inclusive work environment isn’t built through awareness alone. It’s something that needs continuous nurturing and support.” Those are the words of Liberty Mutual Insurance’s senior vice president and global diversity and inclusion (D&I) officer, Dawn Frazier-Bohnert, who recently championed the development of Liberty Mutual’s Inclusion in Action eLearning Video Series. (Review the eLearning here)

The videos, developed in partnership with Sunshower Learning and VISIONS Inc., provide practical advice and touch on a range of skills from being trustworthy, to taking a step back, to “trying on” a different person’s perspective. In the “trying on” episode, employees from different backgrounds are asked to work through a knotty business challenge and take a moment to think about how and why a colleague might be approaching that challenge differently. In an insurance context, that might mean a young tech-savvy underwriter swapping perspectives about a complex risk with a seasoned, risk-adverse actuary.

“We’re all busy people and we’re all moving very fast. It’s easy to get stuck in our own ways,” Frazier-Bohnert commented. “Regardless of experience, it’s important to slow down sometimes, look at the bigger picture, and maybe come up with a better solution.”

As an industry, there’s still “a lot more work to be done” around D&I, according to Frazier-Bohnert. There’s no finish line or end-goal for insurers to strive towards, but rather an ongoing horizon of better business initiatives. Insurance has entered the D&I playing field slightly later than other industries, but Frazier-Bohnert argued there’s a lot of forward momentum.

“Having talked to many other D&I leaders in the industry, we agree that insurance is one of the industries that is coming later to this work, but there’s a real desire to catch up quickly,” she said. “I think that’s because of our need for talent. Not enough people wake up every morning thinking: ‘I want to be an insurance professional.’ There are a lot of demographic changes and a lot of retirements in our industry, and we have to ensure we have the talent in order to meet the needs of the future.

“There’s a burning need to push this forward. Different insurance companies are looking around to see what others are doing because, not only are we all competing for the same talent, but we’re all poised for greater industry movement than we’ve seen in the past. I’m pleased that Liberty Mutual recognised that well before now so that we can be leaders in this space and support others, not only in the industry but also our customers. As they say: a rising tide lifts all boats.”

More from our blog...

June 27, 2020

How to Drive Inclusive Culture in the Digital Workplace

With all the changes brought by COVID-19, employees that have implemented remote work policies are scrambling to ensure employees feel engaged. Jenna Eastman, head of customer success at Beekeeper, shares her top tips for digital workplaces that want to create a more inclusive company culture.
Read More
June 24, 2020

Moving Beyond Diversity Toward Racial Equity

As anti-racism protests sweep the United States, it’s clear that returning to “business as usual” will not be good for business. And yet while it’s clear current corporate diversity efforts are lacking, business leaders (particularly white ones) aren’t sure what next steps to take.
Read More
June 11, 2020

Addressing Unconscious Biases in the Virtual Workplace

RingCentral's Tu-Han Phan raises important points to be aware of the potential for unconscious bias in the virtual workplace.
Read More
June 6, 2020

SunShower awarded Silver Telly Award for Within Our Power to Prevent and Address Sexual Harassment

The 2020 Telly Awards have recognized SunShower's newest program, Within Our Power. Only 16 programs were awarded the Silver Telly.
Read More
May 28, 2020

Making a company truly inclusive

The cofounder and CTO of Drift believes that too often, companies approach diversity and inclusion like dental hygiene. Without proper care and attention, small problems become bigger, more painful ones. SunShower agrees!
Read More
May 26, 2020

Our Culture has accepted two huge lies

“Our Culture has accepted two huge lies: The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe, say or do. Both are NONSENSE. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Dave Chappelle
Read More
May 21, 2020


Leaders should keep a close eye on the subtle ways that they—or their employees—might be introducing biases to the way they approach remote calls.
Read More
May 11, 2020

How to Be an Inclusive Leader Through a Crisis

Organizations are much more likely to be innovative in the face of this crisis if they seek input from a diverse group of employees who approach problems from a variety of perspectives. And at the same time, employees from historically underrepresented groups may feel less safe about speaking up.
Read More