Melbourne Insurance Community Supports Dive In Festival


Melbourne’s insurance community turned out in large numbers to support industry diversity and inclusion this week in the first ever local Dive In Festival event.

Focusing on the issue of ‘Tackling Unconscious Bias’, over 200 participants heard from speakers including journalist Tracey Spicer and subject matter expert Dr. Jennifer Whelan.

A keynote address was also delivered by AFL manager of female football development Jan Cooper, who has been crucial to development of the sport among women over the past 10 years.

Organised by SURA, Wotton + Kearney and Liberty International Underwriters, the event formed a part of the global Dive In Festival which expanded to a record 32 cities this year.

SURA managing director Angie Zissis said the success of the Melbourne event indicated there was a high level of industry engagement with diversity and inclusion issues.

“There is a recognition across the industry both locally and globally that difference can indeed add value to both organisational culture and performance.”

“The Melbourne market is no different. I’d like to thank all participants for their attendance this week and look forward to continued engagement with them in coming months and years.”

SURA head of sales and marketing Denver Van Gramberg said the event’s success was a testament to the level of collaboration being seen on diversity and inclusion across the local industry.

“This event was a true joint effort from the industry in Australia, and shows that leadership on issues of importance like diversity and inclusion is alive and well in our local ecosystem.”

At the event, Dr. Jennifer Whelan explained unconscious bias contributed to women in insurance and financial services being paid 29 per cent less and being less likely to be hired for senior roles.

She advocated developing a richer perspective on other people’s experiences and more cognitive training to improve decision making as ways to bring unconscious bias into the light.

“Everyone has unconscious bias – it’s a human universal – and no you can’t get rid of it in the short term, but you can incorporate some more rigorous decision making processes to insulate yourself against the effects,” she said. “We also need to concentrate on the small things we can do differently that we do often. Micro-habit changes can make inclusive practices the norm, and we are much more likely to be able to change a habit if you break it into little things you can repeat.”