Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Award winner: Cura's Kathryn Knowles

Kathryn Knowles
Kellie Whetton, administration manager at Cura, collected the award from Zurich’s head of HR Steve Collinson, on behalf of Kathryn Knowles, managing director at Cura, inset

Following last month's Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards we caught up with all the winners. Today we feature the Intersectionality Champion, Cura managing director Kathryn Knowles

Can you explain why you established Cura?

We established Cura because we know how hard it is to get insurance. I have a number of medical conditions that made insurers initially decline or increase my premiums significantly and it really wasn’t fair. It was also a complete kick in the teeth for how hard I had worked to overcome physical and mental health conditions, the insurers simply didn’t care about what I had achieved, I was a black and white box. We knew that I couldn’t be the only one experiencing that so we made it our life’s work to improve access to insurance for ‘quirky’ lives.

Since Cura was launched what has the response/impact been?

It has been phenomenal. We work with charities, trade organisations, the public and many other areas to get people the insurances that they need and deserve. We are the go to specialist insurance broker for a number of financial networks and independent advisers, because we are good at what we do and we are respectful and transparent in our approach to supporting other people’s clients.

The work that I have done to increase the profile of protection insurance, health conditions and bringing empathy to the advice journey on social media and through awareness videos. This has also led to me being featured in outreach campaigns for multiple insurers. 

[Cura Financial Services managing director] Alan [Knowles] is now chair of the Protection Distributors Group and sits on the Access to Insurance working group. He is regularly invited to present at conferences about the importance of access to insurance and how we as an industry can do far more to help people. 

Why have you thrown your weight behind numerous D&I issues [disability, gender equality and mental health for instance] rather than just focusing on one?

We support disability, gender and mental health equality, among others, because we are these people. Most of our employees are female, many of us have medical conditions and have experienced some form of mental health factors in our lives. This is modern society. Cura is owned by myself and Alan, we are married, we are equal. We work hard to tackle D&I issues simply because it is the right thing to do.

How do you see the Cura approach to D&I evolving in the coming years?

We plan to evolve our services to better promote insurance to people with a variety of health conditions and disabilities.  As an example, in the next couple of years, we plan to make our products accessible to both the deaf and blind communities, as well as create some dyslexia friendly documents to support the overly wordy insurance documents of norm!

Can you expand on why you think it is important to get involved with organisations like the Association of British Insurers and Naidex to help promote the causes you believe in?

It’s not enough to simply preach to your usual crowd over and over again, over why things need to change. You need to step out of your usual circles. It would be easy for us to simply speak with insurers and change things little by little. Being involved with organisations like the Association of British Insurers means that our message has the potential to reach across the industry and further afield. Engaging with Naidex meant that we took our message to the masses, to the people who truly needed to hear our expertise.

What was it like being a winner at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards?

Amazing! What we do is more than just advising people on protection insurance. In the background we are helping to shape new insurance products and philosophies, we are challenging mindsets and raising awareness of the needs of the public to insurers. We also practice what we preach and make sure that we support everyone that works for us, like we would want to be supported. Our purpose is to improve access to insurance and equality for all, and receiving this award felt like a good pat on the back. 

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