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Diverse Volunteers Needed!

News article

Publication date:

20 May 2021

Last updated:

20 May 2021


Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson writes on how members can supporting the Chartered Insurance Institute’s educational institution and careers outreach work, and highlights some of the profession’s partner networks.

I have supported the CII’s career outreach work for over a decade. It is a great way to showcase the exciting, rewarding, and varied careers that the insurance industry provides, while helping attract the profession’s next generation of talent.  With the CII working to showcase the profession as modern, diverse, and inclusive I worked with Inclusion@Lloyd’s six Partner Networks to create a simple database of diverse volunteers to support this valuable work.

About Inclusion@Lloyd’s Partner Networks

Inclusion@Lloyd’s Partner Network initiative is a volunteer driving initiative that supports cross-market networks within the insurance market that focus on specific diversity and inclusion needs. Inclusion@Lloyd’s brings the Partner Networks together, promoting collaboration and, connections across the insurance sector. By working together the Partner Networks break down silos between diverse groups, foster a common humanity, and are making positive change across the industry. The current Partner Networks are:

  • Link – The LGBTQ+ Insurance Network - Link is a professional network for members of the LGBT+ community and their allies who work in the insurance sector.
  • NGIN – The Next Generation Insurance Network - NGIN empowers young insurance professionals by providing professional development and networking opportunities through an annual programme of events.

These networks are free to join, in 2020 offered over 65 virtual events, and grew their membership by over 50%. They have a track record of collaborating with the CII, Local Institutes, and the wider industry. When I approached them to attract a diverse set of volunteers for the CII they rose to the occasion!


What is a diverse volunteer?

Diversity of volunteers helps the CII present the diversity of roles, locations, and personal characteristics of the profession to prospective recruits. So what does a diverse volunteer look like?

  • Role – There is an incredible diversity of roles within our profession, from claims, underwriting, broking, actuarial, to legal and compliance. Having volunteers that reflect the diversity of careers in our industry increases the likelihood that a student may connect with the CII’s careers outreach volunteers.
  • Personal Characteristics – Diversity in society is a fact, with each person having their own mix of diversity characteristics. Presenting a mix of ages, genders, and ethnicities, for instance, at career events recognises this fact and shows potential recruits that the industry is inclusive of diversity.
  • Seniority – Having a variety of years’ experience and seniority represented at careers events provides students with the ability to learn from the experiences of insurance professionals at different stages of their careers.

From my work with the CII and education institutions I have seen the immense diversity of students and degrees studied.  Prospective employees want to see people like themselves reflected in their career and employers. I believe that having a diverse slate of insurance professionals and role models who volunteer at the CII’s careers outreach events will help us attract the best talent from an increasingly diverse pool of new talent.


The success so far

When we first started on this initiative I had a goal of attracting 50 new diverse volunteers. Within a week we reached that goal, quickly setting a new one of 100. Within two more weeks we had 107 new CII volunteers.

The Inclusion@Lloyd’s Partner Networks achieved this through promoting the initiative in their newsletters to over 6,000 members and the use of social media. Our work was also supported by the CII and Local Institutes.

Vivine Cameron, the CII’s Education Partnership Manager “Volunteers are a key component of the strategy whereby students have the opportunity to meet professionals at seminars/webinars/virtual fairs, explore their career options and network with potential employers.  I am happy to report there is evidence of this approach positively bringing new talent to the profession.  Professionals actively taking part, enables them to be part of a career journey.  The events also provide potential employers with an opportunity to learn about what new talent looks like and what is of concern to them, while professionals report a benefit of ‘giving back’ to the profession they are so passionate.  Equally, there is the power in new talent visually seeing, speaking and being supported by professionals who look, sound like, sometimes having a similar background to them which is invaluable in them recognising this may be the profession for them if they choose.”


What does volunteering involve?

You can commit to as little or as much time as you want. The CII organises virtual and in-person careers outreach events at school, colleges, and universities across the UK. After putting your name down to be a volunteer the CII may contact you about upcoming careers events where they are looking for volunteers to share their experiences progressing from education to work, discuss your role and what it involves, and/or speak one to one with students at career fairs.

The CII plans there events well in advance, giving volunteers the ability participate in events that are most relevant to them (e.g. maybe you are a graduate of a particular school, degree course focus) and fit around your work commitments. The events range from 1 hour to 1.5 hours and may fall during the workday, lunchtime, or in the evening. This variety of events provides volunteers with a diversity of opportunities to support the CII.


What can you do?

Given the success of this volunteer recruitment drive we decided to aim higher with a new target of attracting 200 new diverse volunteers to support the CII’s careers outreach work.  To help us achieve this goal, there are a few things you can do.

  • Register to volunteer – Simply click on this link and provide your information so that the CII can contact you about careers outreach volunteering opportunities.
  • Promote within your firm – Share this link and this article within your firm’s intranet, via an email, and on social media.
  • Promote within your Local Institute – Promote this link on your Local Institute’s website, promote via a member email, and share on social media.

This campaign will remain open until 1 July 2021 so there is plenty of time to get involved. Supporting the CII’s careers outreach work is a very tangible way you can give back to the profession and do you part to showcase it as modern, diverse, and inclusive.


Erik Johnson, BComm, MSc, ACII, Chartered Insurer

Deputy Active Underwriter, Victor Syndicate 2288; CII Local National Forum Officer; ExCo Member of the Insurance Institute of London; and Inclusion Lloyd’s Partner Network Initiative Lead.

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.


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