Issues & Answers Special Advertising Section
December 2020

Issues & Answers: Munich Re Embraces D&I

Juan Herrera, Head of Diversity and Inclusion for Munich Reinsurance America Inc., said the company has a three-year D&I plan. “Our plan focuses on enabling our leadership to be at the forefront of D&I, making sure that we’re giving managers the skills they need to manage teams that are diverse, and supporting our businesses, as well as recruiting and retaining top talent,” he said. Following are excerpts of an interview.

Juan Herrera

Juan Herrera
Head of Diversity and Inclusion
Munich Reinsurance America

“Strong messaging is a very important part of a successful D&I initiative, and we believe we are sending that message loud and clear at Munich Re.”

At a Glance

  • Fostering a culture of diversity.
  • Understanding the importance of inclusion.

Why is diversity and inclusion so important to business today?

Diversity and inclusion is important to our businesses for a number of reasons. There are numerous studies that show that companies that are more diverse and inclusive have teams that are more collaborative, more innovative, and ultimately, these companies are more profitable. Also, if it matters to your employees, if it matters to your customers, clients and brokers, it should matter to you.

Why is D&I particularly important to the insurance industry?

We are in the middle of a talent gap, as baby boomers are reaching retirement age at the rate of 10,000 a day. While they’re not all retiring at the same rate, it still has a particular impact on our industry. We need to ask, “What are we doing to make sure that we are an attractive industry to a different or newer segment of the U.S. workforce?” Also, the other thing that we do understand about our industry is that we are going through a lot of changes. If we want to be competitive, if we want to succeed, we need to attract people with very specific skill sets, whether it’s AI, or data analytics. These are skills that companies across all industries are competing for, so competition for talent is fierce. Our value proposition needs to be clear.

What can companies can do to advance their D&I initiatives?

Messaging is an important part. Making sure you’re clear around what it is that you’re doing, because it’s easy to misconstrue what D&I is about. The more simple you can make your messaging, and communicate that in different ways so all colleagues can embrace what it is that you’re doing, is probably one of the things that can make your efforts that much more successful. Make sure you have a top-down as well as a bottom-up approach, where senior leaders own these efforts, and employees, regardless of level, have an opportunity to be involved.

What are some examples of activities that Munich Re is doing in support of D&I?

Initiatives that we’re doing to support our three-year plan include our executive board hosting small group conversations across the company. All employees can sign up, join and hear first-hand from our executive board what D&I means to them, and what we’re doing at Munich Re to make sure that D&I is successful. Other initiatives revolve around supporting our people managers and giving them the tools and resources they need to be successful.
We’ve looked at our recruiting process, from where we source to how we interview and how we assess talent. We’ve embedded best practices across the regions to make sure that we truly are hiring the best and not just the most familiar. These are just a few examples that we’re doing and how we’re measuring. We are committed to continue learning, growing and ensuring our industry and our company are more diverse and inclusive.