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Inclusive Insurance?

I like that corporate New Zealand is trying to be a bit more inclusive. The sight of ANZ advertising their support for Pride, or BNZ publishing pictures of their LGBTQ staff involved with Pride week is good. A quick chat to a friend who actually experiences the service offered by banks to LGBTQ people and I discovered that while that publicity is pretty good, what companies actually do counts more. That is the experience of people when they try to borrow money, do their banking, and look after the people important to them. They like ASB who have a good approach to recognising same sex couples and those that would prefer not to use gender pronouns.

How does the insurance industry stack up? Patchy. In a recent survey we undertook on the subject we found that a good number of insurers did not wish to reply - typically a sign that they have no particular policies - and as such services like call centres will tend to default to the view of the person you are talking to. Some will be helpful, others won't be. Leaving your policy on inclusion to chance is not a management strategy. If your only interest is so that you can make money, remember, that 'chance strategy' will lose you customers.

One insurer has a benefit called "Accidentally acquired HIV" and, whatever the legal definition of 'accidental', that is bound to cause offence. So the insurance industry appears to have some way to go. Only a couple of insurers have the option to choose salutations such as "Mx". All require selection of either Male or Female, with no option to choose intersex. 

One early step in the process is to engage someone who knows about this stuff. I have been helped by a consultant in the sector, Meaghan Fisher. I love what our industry can do for people, and generally I am very proud of the insurance industry, but this is an area where we could do better. Better so that we can help more people: there are parts of the underinsurance problem that are really hard to fix, just being a bit nicer to people should be one of the easy ones.

Take Sonnet insurance in Canada, and their remarkably upbeat, and inclusive advertisement:  


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What an inspiring article Russell! Yes, absolutely we need to do better. Yes, there are some great examples of brave brands out there setting admirable examples for us. Yes, it fits with how we as an industry support people in their time of need to become LGBTQ friendly. And yes, it makes business sense.

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