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.”

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