Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards winner: Zurich's Maxine Goddard

D&I Maxine Goddard
Maxine Goddard, chair of the cultural awareness network at Zurich, picked up the award from Sian Barton

Following last month's Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards, we caught up with all the winners. Today, we feature the Race Equality Champion, Maxine Goddard, head of sales operations and planning at Zurich Insurance.

Can you explain the thinking behind the Zurich Cultural Awareness Network (ZCAN)?

ZCAN’s mission is to support a culture of diversity, inclusion and tolerance by raising cultural awareness for our employees, communities and customers. We aim to enhance our cultural awareness across the organisation with respect to race, ethnicity, culture, religion and language.

Our purpose is to raise awareness of different cultures and beliefs and to promote and drive a more supportive and tolerant working culture within Zurich; adding new insights to the way we work and making changes to the way we operate and, ultimately, how we interact with our customers and within our communities.

Since it was launched, what has the response/impact been?

Since ZCAN’s inauguration in 2018, employee engagement has grown year-on-year through various initiatives: intra-group initiatives, internal/external mentoring, school career fairs and mock interviews, work experience/apprenticeships/graduate recruitment, cultural events and joint industry and company events, including The Network of Networks (TNON), Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN) and Reach Society.

Where can ZCAN go next?

ZCAN is focused on the following initiatives for 2020 and beyond:

  • Recruitment. Working alongside Zurich’s D&I and HR teams respectively to review current practices across Zurich UK (work experience/apprenticeships/graduate schemes and FTEs recruitment) and ensure that our hiring practices are reflective of the diverse communities and customers we serve.
  • Ethnicity pay gap. Following the government’s ethnicity pay reporting consultation, Zurich UK is keen to review employee salaries across various locations and grades specific to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation. The aim is to understand if there are any prevalent discrepancies across our remuneration structure(s) and, if recognised, identifying the requisite training and practices required to provide equitable pay practices across our UK businesses (and beyond).
  • Engagement. ZCAN has always been active with respect to community involvement and we are keen to increase these efforts in 2020 through increased engagement with our affiliated schools, charities and cross-industry groups (TNON, iCAN, Dive In). In addition, we will continue to support cross-group events/talks with the Women’s Innovation Network, [email protected] and the Disability Inclusion Group with the aim of creating a more inclusive environment for all employees.
  • Internal discourse.

Can you expand on why you think it is important to get involved in industry bodies like iCAN and TNON and the mentoring of younger BAME individuals?

Involvement with industry groups has and will continue to be an essential aspect to ZCAN’s growth. Through such groups, we are able to benefit from the collective experiences and practices of their membership. This helps guide our current and forthcoming practices, initiatives and engagement.

How supportive is your employer in terms of raising the profile and boosting the acceptance of D&I across the business?

Zurich has been supportive with respect to promoting ZCAN and other D&I groups. Andrew Jepp, managing director at Zurich Municipal, is the ZCAN executive sponsor and he has been integral in guiding our initiatives and ensuring that we appropriate senior stakeholder engagement.

What was it like being a winner at the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance Awards?

I am honoured to be the first recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion in Insurance award. Whilst there is still a lot of work to do throughout the insurance industry to encourage inclusivity and diversity, it is encouraging to be a part of the growing awareness and importance around D&I within the insurance industry and the wider financial services.

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