Best's Review


From the Editor's Desk
The New Workplace Is Built on Professional Development, D&I and Apprenticeships

The issue also includes AM Best’s ranking of the world’s largest insurers, a look at life insurance startups and a listing of P&I clubs.
  • Patricia Vowinkel
  • February 2021

Insurers have been stepping up efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive workplace and to attract new talent from outside the traditional college and university feeding grounds.

State Farm hired its first chief diversity officer in July, and Markel in January announced it had created a new role of managing director, talent, diversity and inclusion. Others have added to existing diversity and inclusion efforts. Lloyd's last year set a diversity policy for the Lloyd's Council as part of its effort to “drive cultural transformation” across the market.

Lauren Young, director of diversity and inclusion at Zurich North America, said she and others in similar roles “have begun to see a new focus on the work we were already doing.”

“I've seen organizations begin to put additional resources into advancing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and business leaders become involved in the work,” Young said.

February is Professional Development Awareness Month. In the cover story, diversity executives Young and Lata Reddy of Prudential Financial speak about their organizations' initiatives to break down racial divides and build inclusive workplaces.

Some insurers have launched apprenticeship programs to help them diversify and broaden their employee base beyond the traditional talent pools. In “Insurers Turn to Apprenticeships to Find Diverse, Next-Gen Workforce,” Best's Review looks at how insurers have been focusing on these programs to develop new talent. Apprentices include high school graduates, veterans, those reentering the workforce after a hiatus, people wanting to move from a job to a career, and others attracted by the prospect of a guaranteed job and promotion.

When it comes to choosing where to work, many young people do not consider a career in insurance. Annie Buelow and Joseph Rosario, recent hires at Berkley Construction Professional, want to change that. They share some of the industry's many opportunities in “Looking for a Career? The Insurance Business Offers a Wealth of Options for Young Professionals.”

In the life insurance sector, Best's Review looks at two startups that are becoming risk-taking carriers, moving beyond a model where as insurtechs they simply sell other carriers' policies. Best's Review speaks with Alan Shapiro, founder of Dayforward, in “Upstarts Dayforward and Bestow Seek to Shake Up the Traditional Life Insurance Sector.”

This month also includes AM Best's annual ranking of the world's largest insurers, as measured by assets and by premium. To find out more, go to “World's Largest Insurers—2021 Edition: M&A, Divestitures Drive Changes in AM Best's Rankings.”

Renewals for marine protection and indemnity clubs are approaching, and expectations are that the sector is headed into a hard market after years of soft pricing. “Multiyear Hikes on Horizon for Marine Protection and Indemnity Market” includes a listing of the members of the International Group of P&I Clubs ranked by 2019 gross premiums written.

Patricia Vowinkel, Executive Editor,

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