Q&A: Amanda Lucas, talent, learning and inclusion manager, human resources, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty and co-chair, Insurance Families network

Amanda Lucas
Amanda Lucas

As part of the Inclusion at Lloyd's programme six partner networks have been set up to help bolster diversity and inclusion in insurance. Post spoke to a representative from each one to get an insight into what they doing, today focusing on IFN - the Insurance Families Network.

Insurance Families Network

Please could you summarise the main objectives of your network?

The main aim of the network is to make the insurance industry as family friendly as possible allowing all those with family and caring responsibilities to reach their full career potential, achieve a happy, healthy and productive work and family life and feel truly included. We have a few areas of focus within that aim, reflecting the modern family, creating a supportive environment for those with caring responsibilities and support for families in difficulty.

Why did you get involved personally?

I came back to the City a few years ago having developed my career in corporates outside of London.  Now, as a lone parent I was hugely fortunate to be hired by a manager and a company that was looking to be progressive and accessible for a wider range of people. It was able to accommodate the slightly reduced time I can be in the office - in order to work around childcare - and a creatively use of technology to support my work outside of London. 

If it had any doubts when my children successively contracted chicken pox within a few months of me starting I didn’t feel it.  Since then we’ve broadened our approach to work flexibly to enable more people to work in the best way for them, their team and their clients.

Can you list some of the activities your network has undertaken to help increase understanding and achieve its D&I goals?

A big part of our approach is to open the dialogue and create connections for those within the industry so that they can identify others with the same challenges and draw strength by knowing that they are not alone. 

We are also looking to communicate best practice and sharing policies as we will change faster if we all change together. We have run a number of events on topics such as flexible working, adoption, what it really means to be a working parent and are in the process of sharing personal stories of carers within the market.

What have been the network’s biggest achievements to date?

For me, to see a greater amount of flexibility and the increased numbers of men openly talking about how they balance their careers with their commitment to their families; and how that is changing the dynamics at home and at work has been a real highlight. A greater opportunity to have equity at home is critical to a greater equity at work and it good to see more fathers talking openly about their engagement with their children. 

What have been the biggest barriers to the network achieving its objectives?

The power of things like the Dive In Festival has really created the network and the opportunities to bring people together. The power in making those connections and creating a shared vision for the environment that we can all create is what is moving us beyond the barriers of the past. For instance we have built the market on the strength of our working relationships and being able to adapt these with the greater opportunities offered through technology to work flexibly and remotely has taken us partnering and working together so that we can explore how that works well and evolves at pace.

Could you single out some of the bright stars within the network and outline why their input has been so important?

All of the people who have shared their personal stories. Those who have shared the complex structure of their modern families, the sacrifices and challenges of balancing caring and work, the celebration of the connection of parents doing the school run and managing their work around their family time. 

Those who have been brave and spoken out so that others can hear that they are not alone, are valued and feel that this is a place where they are able to thrive.  Plus my co-chair Michaela Gibson who has worked so tirelessly to bring this network to life

What could the insurance sector start doing/ stop doing in order to help increase awareness in your network’s D&I specialist area?

The network is really in its infancy and we are in the process of establishing it through raising awareness. It’s important that it is understood we represent all aspects of family and not assumed to only focus on those with children. We are aiming to support the changes that the market needs to make to adapt and be relevant to the changing lives of the people who work here.

What has your network got coming up in the future; and how can people get involved?

Our plans for the events in 2020 are going to be published by our newsletter and we hope to support more informal gatherings for people with similar interests and life experiences as well.  We encourage people to sign up and give input into how we shape our priorities for the coming year.

For more on Insurance Families Network

FURTHER READING

Q&A: Benjamin Hindson, vice-president for communications, media and technology, Marsh and chair of Next Generation Insurance Network

Q&A: Iowa Morgan, manager of City Claims at AIG and chair of the Insurance Disability, Ability & Wellbeing Network

Q&A: Maurice Rose, manager, insurance risk and regulation, PWC and co-chair Link

Q&A: Ajay Mistry, partnership director, Brokerbility and co-chair, Insurance Cultural Awareness Network

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