Diversity initiative of the Year: Argo Group

Argo Group scoops the diversity and inclusion (D&I) award because of its commitment and progress in the area.

Alex HindsonWith stakeholders' expectations on D&I growing, the issue has received close scrutiny at the US specialty insurer.

For example, the insurer's chief risk and sustainability officer (CR&SO), Alex Hindson, flagged concerns to the board in August 2021 over the organisation's preparedness for future D&I reporting requirements.

The insurer's internal audit team was then asked to provide an assurance review and highlight areas where controls could be strengthened for future reporting.

Challenged by the lack of firm international standards for such reporting, the team considered the application of Sarbanes-Oxley style assurance principles to D&I non-financial reporting.

The process culminated with internal audit providing the necessary assurance report to the CR&SO that current processes were appropriate for current regulatory expectations. An action plan was also developed ahead of new requirements coming into effect.

Argo Group also managed to deliver new D&I metrics such as average staff tenure, level of involvement in employee resource groups and the level of remote or hybrid working.

The insurance sector struggles to attract top talent compared to other parts of the financial services sector and so it needs to offer attractive and rewarding careers, according to Hindson.

He says: "This means listening to what new entrants are looking for. People want to feel valued and to be working within an organisation with a strong purpose. Additionally, they need to be able to 'bring their whole self' to work which means adopting inclusive policies.

"Covid has taught us that we need to consider our colleagues' needs and wellbeing both at work and at home if we are to maintain a strong relationship and earn their loyalty."