HARTFORD — As the nation grapples with issues of race and inclusion, Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais has led discussions in several National Association of Insurance Commissioners forums on race, diversity, and inclusion within the insurance industry and in insurance practices.
“Inclusion means having everyone having a voice, and for as vital an industry as insurance, it means helping all members of our Connecticut family get access to the products that are relevant to them,” Mais said.
Commissioner Mais has also participated in efforts led by Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz to address social inequities in Connecticut, including the Council on Women and Girls and cultural competency initiatives.
Mais is also a member of the NAIC’s recently created Special Executive Committee on Race and Insurance. This special committee, created in July, is charged with conducting research and analyzing issues of diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector; engaging with a broad group of stakeholders on issues related to race, diversity, and inclusion in, and access to, the insurance sector and insurance products; examining and determining which current practices or barriers exist in the insurance sector that potentially disadvantage persons of color and other underrepresented groups; and making recommendations for action to the NAIC membership.
Further building upon his participation in panels and forums, Mais was the guest host of a special edition of the NAIC podcast “The Regulators” focused on race and insurance. Mais brought together regulators, industry, and consumer advocates to discuss diversity and equity in the insurance industry, an issue that the NAIC is addressing as part of its new race and insurance initiative.
In this special episode, Mais discusses racial equity in the delivery and sale of insurance products, as well as racial diversity within the insurance industry. His guests included: California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara; New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride; Aflac Chief Executive Officer, Dan Amos; and Consumer Advocate and Chair of the Connecticut Insurance Department Subcommittee on Big Data, Sonja Larkin-Thorne.
“This podcast is just one of the many conversations that commissioners are having about how we can work together to identify and address biases,” said Mais. “Advancing issues related to racial equity requires talking openly about race and insurance practices, even if the conversations are difficult.”
During the NAIC National Summer Meeting, Mais moderated a panel discussion “Current Racially Based Challenges within the Insurance Sector,”which was part of a larger special session on Race and Insurance.
The panel of consumer advocates reviewed current industry practices that potentially disadvantage minorities, including use of big-data and algorithmic-based underwriting models (i.e., proxy discrimination), access to quality and affordable healthcare, and low levels of financial literacy and access to insurance/financial products.