28 \\\\\ MARKEL INDIA
With an inclusive workplace as well as a diverse and satisfied
workforce as brand ambassadors, any organisation will
become a magnet for the right talent, says Deepika Mathur,
chief executive officer of Markel India.
D From an Indian standpoint, gender equality has been the primary
iversity and inclusion (D&I) have become one of the
most pressing business imperatives in the insurance
industry in recent years. While gender diversity is
easy to track through recruiting, an inclusive workplace
requires a deeper transformation in corporate culture and values.
About a decade ago, I was approached by a senior manager of a
company that had an all-male technical workforce. He recognised
that a varied workforce is needed for healthy growth of the
organisation, and he went on to recruit skilled and experienced
female candidates, offering pay parity.
Unfortunately, the initiative failed. Despite his best efforts at
hiring correctly, he had failed to set the tone with his existing team
and failed to create a workspace that was inclusive for women. As
new female managers left one after another within months,
it deepened the wrong perceptions and led to more adverse
stereotyping. For me, nothing proved the need for an inclusive
environment more than this.
Since then, as a member of Markel Corporation’s global D&I
steering committee and chief executive officer of Markel India, I have
noticed that the industry has been changing. Perceptions around
D&I have started to be communicated with clearer and constant
efforts from top management.
focus for several years now, and it can be reflected in our laws and
corporate policies. I am pleased to see good progress within the
insurance industry in India in terms of gender diversity, with several
senior leadership positions being held by women.
However, gender diversity is just a fraction of the entire D&I
imperative in the workplace and it is certainly more than just a pie
chart represented by numbers and figures. In particular, Asia is so
diverse in terms of economic backgrounds, religion, language, and
culture, and almost every Asian country is made up of different
The first step for any organisation is to ensure that they build
an inclusive work culture where all groups are being heard. It is
important to set the right tone within the company and then hire
correctly—the cost of repetitive hiring without an inclusive culture
will do more damage in the long run.
At Markel, we run several initiatives and access to support
groups within the company to make sure that we cultivate an
inclusive environment. We have a global D&I steering committee
with members from various Markel offices, including from different
Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019 www.intelligentinsurer.com