African Americans are generally underrepresented in the insurance industry. According to a recent report, only 13 percent of workers in the industry are African American. But with rising calls for diversity, the industry has made some progress in employing and promoting more people of color in recent years.
So, how can African American insurance professionals become more prevalent in insurance and achieve greater success in their careers?
Seek mentorships and mentor others.
Once someone is hired, they need to visualize a solid career path; this is where mentorship comes in. Though these professionals may have the required technical training, mentorship will expose them to unwritten rules, such as informal cues and nuances.
The insurance professional must thoroughly research their mentor’s discipline to find the best person willing to take them under their wing and offer them reliable and timely advice. For this engagement to be successful, the mentee must be responsive and ready to implement the recommendations and suggestions of their mentor.
Just as African American insurance professionals need to seek mentorship, they should also actively mentor their fellow African American employees. Mentorship opens the doors to gaining on-the-job knowledge, growth, and career satisfaction.
Search for sponsorships in the insurance industry.
There are senior African American executives and others throughout the insurance industry with the expertise, credibility, and vision that can sponsor African American students and professionals. But for a sponsorship to be productive, these professionals must be willing to go above and beyond to expose themselves to experience beyond their traditional insurance training.
They must be open to taking on new tasks, getting things done, and showing their capabilities. The best way to get sponsorship is by positioning themselves and increasing their networks inside and outside their company, through industry groups, informal networks, and employee resource groups.
Take part in professional organizations.
Insurance professionals should support and become members of relevant professional organizations to increase their local and national networks. They can gain exposure and experience as they take part and contribute to the success of these groups.
They can also strengthen their career plans by attending workshops, webinars, research papers, and seminars organized by these professional organizations.
Strive for self-development.
While it may be challenging for African American insurance professionals to find broader career support in many companies, they are responsible for their career advancement by getting the necessary tools and skills for success.
So, these professionals must continue to learn and get involved in more projects. They must do what they can to remain abreast, whether taking courses, webinars, or independent programs.
For African American representation in the insurance industry to change, African Americans professionals must also adapt. Seeking mentorship, sponsorship, and becoming active in professional organizations are ways to be proactive, get industry exposure, and stay ahead of the game.