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​The I.D.E.A - Interview with Catherine Scullion

Rupa Pithiya2 years ago by Rupa Pithiya
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The insurance industry was traditionally a male dominated market, however over time, the sector has been promoting change and is reinventing itself with a greater emphasis on Diversity, Equality & Inclusion.

​Now more than ever, the Insurance and Actuarial profession receives requests for a “diverse” range of candidates. But what exactly does that mean? Is this to meet the growing number of companies wanting to reflect positive developments with a balanced workforce? Has diversity or equality ever existed in the Actuarial Insurance market? Or is this gradual change purely a company tick box exercise?

I have been in conversation with Senior Leaders to gain perspective and understanding on what the I.D.E.A means to them.

Here is an look back to a conversation with Catherine Scullion in September 2021:

What is your current role?

Chief Actuary, MS Amlin Underwriting Limited

Please share what inclusion, equality and diversity means to you in the workforce?

Better companies and decisions. Personally it means that I get to meet a wide range of people which is always more interesting and that everyone brings as much of themselves as they want to work, which is more fun.

Being part of an active community of people taking vocal and positive action on diversity is very important to me.

Did you/do you have a role model in the market, if so, how did it help you? If not would it have been benefiting to you? How?

Not a specific one but some of the most encouraging things have been spontaneous support from a wide range of people. The more time I spend in the City the more powerful I think role models and positive reinforcement of action on diversity and inclusion is. An example that sticks out is when I presented some stats on the number of female signing actuaries at GIRO a few years ago which was one of the first times I’d spoken publicly about diversity. There was a question (from a man, of course) implying these figures weren’t relevant, before I’d responded there were a couple of incredulous responses from the audience – thanks Helen Cooper and Seema Thaper!

What challenges (if any) did you face when moving up in your career?

​I have been relatively lucky both in the opportunities I have been able and supported in taking and that I don’t have high levels of imposter syndrome compared to others I talk to in groups that are underrepresented at senior levels.

That said I have spent a lot of time in meetings as the only woman and people have made assumptions about what role I’m in based on my appearance. I have observed these barriers and others facing friends and colleagues and at best they mean that people from underrepresented groups have to do more -whether that’s by using their energy in this way or having a higher bar placed for them and at worst that the status quo will continue.

Do you think there is enough diversity in the insurance market, why?

No. I’m white, heterosexual and I went to Cambridge and I’m a positive diversity story in this industry.

In your opinion how would you successfully promote The I.D.E.A.?

Talking about it. In as many rooms as possible. Talking to people early in their careers about challenges they face and senior leaders about what action they are taking.

What advice would you give to younger self?

​Don’t be naïve that things will change without targeted, positive action. Always make the difference that you can, you will regret every single time you don’t.

 

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