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Protecdiv uses its unique position and perspective in the insurance industry to encourage the industry to use empathy, creativity, and long-term planning to help narrow wealth gaps

Our company, Protecdiv, is somewhat unique in the insurance industry. We’re a broker that focuses exclusively on large commercial insurance and reinsurance risks. We’re also a majority black-owned and operated business.

Our position as diverse executives running an insurance entity allows us a somewhat unique perspective on current events. Like all of us in the insurance industry, we are affected by COVID-19 and the protests against police brutality. These will be significant industry loss events and will cause long-term changes to work life and underwriting. But for black and brown people, there is often an additional burden from our current national challenges.

Many of us, including many of your employees and colleagues, are emotionally struggling. We have family members who were raised in those communities most hard hit by COVID-19 and these protests. We’ve been connected to these communities that have poor access to healthcare, poor access to education, and poor access to emergency funding. We worry about these same communities that have had to suffer through the institutionalized view of many police that black people are inherently more dangerous than white people and that this threat must be aggressively neutralized.

Without caveat or hesitation, we condemn over-aggressive policing, police brutality, and the killing by police of the unarmed. Our condemnation is not enough. We must do more. Let’s use our industry’s inherent skills to make broad positive change.

Skill #1: Empathy

The basis of underwriting is empathy. We explore prospective clients knowing that we are not as expert in that entity’s operations as the team that lives it every day. But through a significant effort of asking thoughtful questions and communicating best practices from other experiences, we develop a deep understanding of those operations. This understanding allows us to design solutions to minimize the risk to our clients and to our own balance sheets.

Let’s deploy this empathy process to our employees, colleagues, and industry friends. Ask thoughtful questions about people’s feelings. Communicate that you care. Lean on examples from elsewhere in your experience to offer help, where possible. Be comfortable in your discomfort. It takes open hearts, minds, and conversations to help.

Skill #2: Creativity

Our industry is one of the most exciting and dynamic on earth. The insurance industry has catalyzed innovation for centuries producing significant societal benefits. We invest in new tools, services, and data to solve our customers’ challenges.

Let’s use this creativity to solve the Protection Gap in urban communities. Deliver new insurance products that allow community members to recover quickly from setbacks. Support community and commercial initiatives that help individuals from poorer communities build businesses and secure long- term quality housing. Support black and brown owned businesses that already exist. Efforts like these will ultimately generate new revenues for our industry, reduce risk for communities, and be showcases for the dynamism of insurance.

Skill #3: Long-Term Planning

The math of insurance is based on the “long-run”. We take in premiums knowing that there will be unexpected costs along the way. But in the long-run, we will have provided important security to our clients and sizable profits to our companies.

Use this long-term focus to increase your investment in recruiting and developing diverse talent. Our industry has made some significant strides in bringing in talent that wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to our great industry. Our industry benefits from the diverse perspectives that come with diverse backgrounds and our communities benefit by having more role models that look like all of us.

We all work in a leading industry. Let’s lead.

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