I have worked in the insurance industry for nearly 20 years. I started my career as a law clerk at a small insurance defense firm while I was in law school. Following law school, I joined the insurance coverage practice group of a midsized law firm that represented insurers in a wide range of coverage disputes. I am now a partner at an international law firm based in the United States, and I have represented insurers in some of the most complex and highest exposure coverage cases in the country. I have also had the honor of cochairing one of the largest insurance coverage conferences in North America, which gave me the opportunity to work with insurance professionals from all over the United States, Europe, and South America. During my career, I have been surprised by the limited amount of diversity that I have encountered in the insurance industry in the United States.
After nearly 20 years, I can count on one hand the number of minority policyholder or insurer-side coverage attorneys that I have encountered on any insurance coverage dispute that I have handled. I can also count on one hand the number of minority insurance company representatives that I have encountered during my career. The same is true for the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) insurance professionals that I have encountered. I have also noticed that there are very few women occupying the highest echelons of power within the insurance industry.
However, my personal experience is merely anecdotal. I recognize that I am simply one attorney working at one law firm in one region of the country. Therefore, I decided to investigate the extent to which my perception that there is limited diversity in the insurance industry in the United States is reality. What I discovered is shocking. As explained in more detail below, there are recent data confirming that the insurance industry and the legal industry that represents it are among the least diverse industries in the United States.
This article examines the data reflecting a lack of diversity in the insurance industry and legal industry, explains how implicit bias or unconscious bias may be contributing to the lack of diversity in the insurance industry and legal industry, and provides some suggestions for promoting diversity and inclusion within the insurance industry and the legal industry. Please note that while the primary focus of this article is the insurance industry, I have included numerous references to the legal industry, for which more extensive data regarding diversity and inclusion issues exist.