Catherine Orobator, insurance officer at University of East London and one of Airmic’s rising stars, shares her thoughts on why the risk industry needs more diversity and inclusion.

What advice would I give my younger self about working in the risk and insurance industry

There is just so much to love about the industry. Below are just a few:

  1. Opportunities that enhance or awakens the innovative mind: The opportunities for both personal and professional growth are so far reaching. Think cyber security, medical marijuana or internet of things, as well as traditional covers taking a revamped application. All of these call for innovative ways of doing business and thus creating new and exciting opportunities for the innovative mind or awakening the sleeping innovative minds.
  2. An industry that allows you to make a real difference: Do you think about making the world better? Do you want leave a legacy that impacts people, colleagues and companies? If yes, then risk and insurance is the in-place. You have the opportunity to help people especially in times of need. You can use your skills and know-how to benefit a cause in a real and positive way as insurance provides a force to restore, protect people and communities and much more. It also provides a safety net for employees, allowing businesses to bounce back from challenging situations. 
  3. Development and training opportunities: With an ever-changing world, and with change happening at such a fast pace, comes the necessity to keep on top of new learnings and developments. The Risk and Insurance industry is top notch for this. There are many relatively “free” or pretty affordable training that happens with a broad range of topics and teaching styles to cater for everyone – breakfast briefings, webinars, bite size physical academies, conferences, customer days, forums, certifications, diplomas, just to mention a few.
  4. Stimulating and engaging work: The scope and richness of the daily job means there is never a dull moment. There is lots of scope for the creative and curious mind. If you want to develop your growth mindset, Risk and Insurance is definitely the place to be – there are opportunities abound to develop one’s abilities and intelligence. Each day presents its challenge and solutions, always stretching the mind to its next point of releasing potential.
  5. Relationships: For one relatively new to the industry, the friendly collaboration, the openness to share knowledge, to consciously build symbiotic relationships and synergies is simply amazing and pleasing and takes the job from cut throat competition to one of mutual partnerships.

Why is diversity important in risk and management

Diversity has within it the great option of building synergies, where the sum of the whole is much greater than the individual parts. Diversity brings with it a greater richness of conversations, ideas and debates, opening up a broader perspective of seeing things. Consequently, with an industry handling a diverse range of exposures and perils in a world made up of diversity in all ways thinkable, tapping into the fullness of what diversity has to offer is a good business imperative. It could be argued that diversity is a risk management technique – a strong case for diversity in risk and management.

The risk industry cuts across all peoples, every sector of the community, all sectors of business, and has a world-wide presence. It therefore becomes vital for Risk and Insurance to have diversity within its DNA and its overarching ethos. This will allow the industry to seek solutions from the broadest of all sources and thus make the risk and insurance industry truly rich in the broadest terms of what rich could be. And it will allow it to serve the current and future markets and stakeholders from both a local and worldwide dimension.

Describe what the industry looks like 20 years time.

There will be greater cultural awareness to enable risk and insurance to reach its potential, taking into account and tapping into diversity in the fullest possible way. It will be an industry where technology incorporates the human touch; data analytics is authentically meaningful and incorporates the human factor; and skills and capabilities are constantly updated bringing in new and innovative ways of learning.