Abic pledges continued support for Acre
The foundations are being laid for tangible racial equity changes in the international business sector, a leading insurance executive has said.
Patrick Tannock, chairman of the Association of Bermuda International Companies and CEO of Axa XL Insurance in Bermuda, was speaking as Abic pledged its continued support of the Association for Corporate Racial Equity as it marked the first anniversary of advocating for racial equity in Bermuda’s IB sector.
He said: “The Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements shone a light on systemic inequities and highlighted a global desire for social justice and raised awareness of the need for change.
“Acre should be proud of what it has accomplished in a relatively short time period in Bermuda. This includes public and private actions that are laying the foundation for tangible racial equity changes in the IB sector.
“While there is much work to still be done, we congratulate Acre’s founding members and everyone involved in the organisation.”
Mr Tannock added: “On behalf of the Abic board, I also take this opportunity to thank Abic’s retiring executive director Richard Winchell for his valuable role in the launch of Acre. Abic is committed to working collaboratively with Acre to achieve their objectives.”
Over the past decade in particular, diversity, equity, and inclusion has become a priority for Abic, the organisation said.
The DEI committee, formed in 2017, has driven initiatives to assist member companies to meaningfully address the under representation of historically disadvantaged groups, particularly at senior management and executive levels.
Abic helped launch Acre in October 2021 by providing guidance, mentorship, and financial support.
Abic said that before the launch of Acre it provided a forum for the founders to work out the intricacies of racial inequity in IB and develop a strategic approach to advocacy in the sector.
Previously, Abic similarly incubated WeSpeak, which focuses on supporting women’s professional development.
Noel Pearman, senior vice-president, cyber product line leader at Axa XL and a founding member of Acre, said: “The past year has demonstrated the significant, previously unmet need in Bermuda’s IB sector for advocacy around racial equity.
“Acre’s success in reaching the top ranks of international businesses as well as our growing membership is due, in part, to the support that we received from Abic.
“We appreciate Abic’s ongoing commitment to Acre’s efforts to champion the success of Black Bermudians as well as Abic’s work to encourage its 100-plus member companies to act on their good intentions and to continuously assess their progress in this regard.”
Marlon Williams, senior property underwriter at Hiscox Re & ILS and also a founding member of Acre, said: “Our vision at Acre is to enhance the international business sector by ensuring that it becomes truly inclusive and equitable such that Black Bermudians achieve optimal success and international companies receive the benefit of truly diverse perspectives.
“Abic’s support of IB employers is critically important as well as its work to encourage and properly prepare young Bermudians for careers in the IB sector.”
Jasmine (Furbert) Desilva, senior vice-president, ILS strategic initiatives and business development at Artex Capital Solutions, and a member of Acre’s executive team, said: “Many of the initiatives led by Abic’s DEI committee directly support Acre’s work because the aims of both organisations, pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion, are completely aligned.”
Abic said that during the past year its DEI committee had hosted a series of education sessions and virtual panel discussions on topics such as Bermuda’s employment data, Black women in IB, advancing racial equity and inclusion in IB, employee wellbeing and mental health, and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees.
Abic has also conducted member surveys for more than a decade to gain and share insights into the demographics of the portion of Bermuda’s workforce employed by international companies.
The organisation said it was working with a professional services firm to administer a more robust workforce survey for member companies to gauge and monitor progress on DEI outcomes.