Industry overshadowed by harassment as Dive In marks fifth year

Swimming pool diversity

Lloyd’s diversity festival, Dive In, has been confirmed for a fifth year, a day after the market was slammed for an ingrained "culture of sexual harassment".

The festival, which had 10,000 attendees last year, is this year focused on “positive action” and “measurable impact”. The three day festival will take place across the globe from 24 - 26 September and is set to be bigger than ever, taking place in more than 30 countries.

Chair of Inclusion at Lloyd’s and global chairman of Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business, Dominic Christian said of the festival: “The focus on curating a global festival that seeks to encourage insurance professionals to move from awareness of the business case for diversity and inclusion to creating positive action is something to be truly proud of, and while we have seen significant progress, I am delighted to know that this forward momentum will be carried into Dive In 2019.” 

The renewal follows a day after a report by Bloomberg Businessweek, in which women working in the industry described an atmosphere of “near-persistent harassment”.

Responding to the accusations Sheila Cameron, CEO of the Lloyd’s Market Association, stated the industry had taken “great strides” in tackling the issue, holding Dive In as an example of that.

She said: “Sexual harassment is simply indefensible in any workplace and all instances should be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

“We, like all other industries facing this issue, must continue to deal with any reports of harassment, head on. Both victims and witnesses of any form of workplace harassment must be encouraged to come forward.

“Victims and witnesses must have confidence in the robust and fair processes and procedures put in place by the leaders of their companies, and those leaders have a responsibility to ensure their workplaces are safe from any form of harassment.”

Dive In last year held a poll for attendees. It found that 93% of insurance professionals believe managers have got the message that diversity and inclusion are good for business and are taking positive steps forward.

The survey also found that 82% feel their views on the importance of diversity and inclusion have changed positively since the festival started in 2015.

Robert Moorehead-Lane, associate director at Grant Thornton UK, wrote on Linked In that the industry shouldn’t rest on its laurels.  

“While I agree with the work being done, unfortunately it is not a few who are to blame,” he wrote.

“Many in organisations and more broadly know who the culprits are, but due to numerous reasons, seniority, business considerations, or not wanting to ruin a long illustrious career, many who know what is going on keep quiet.

“And by that token it is the whole who are to blame not the minority. When the market can look in the mirror and honestly say we don’t know of anyone doing this type of thing.

“Then it is time to applaud and pat ourselves on the back. Until then the shame is everyone’s.”

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