The role of mentorship in the success of African American insurance professionals » NAAIA Foundation » Supporting African Americans in the Insurance Industry


The role of mentorship in the success of African American insurance professionals

Individuals with mentors are six times more likely to be promoted than those without mentors, promoted five times more often, and 20 percent more likely to receive a pay raise, human resources experts at Sun Microsystems found. There’s no question that the corporate landscape requires talented and passionate individuals. And as the data show, talent needs to be encouraged and nurtured.

African Americans comprise 13 percent of professionals in the insurance industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These insurance professionals need career sponsors and mentors to help them grow. Mentorship undeniably helps African American insurance professionals who have been previously excluded or disadvantaged gain career advancement opportunities.

What role do mentors play in the success of African American insurance professionals?

Offering guidance and support

Mentors can help African American insurance professionals advance their careers by providing them necessary guidance and support, helping them identify and overcome challenges, and helping them set and achieve career goals.

Providing perspective

Mentors have lots of experience gained from making right and (sometimes) wrong decisions. Thus, they can give their mentees better advice and perspective based on their insights and experiences, helping them make better decisions and fewer mistakes.

Making connections

A study by Marsh LLC ties the low number of African Americans in the insurance industry to a lack of industry exposure, networks, and experience. Considering this, mentors can introduce their mentees to professional networks they have developed throughout their own careers. And with an understanding of their mentees’ abilities and core strengths, they can advocate effectively for their mentees and steer them toward opportunities for career advancement.

Serving as a role model

Mentors are natural role models since they can guide mentees while showing them proof of career success. Their examples and experiences can encourage mentees to step out of their comfort zones and try new things to advance their careers.


Mentors play a crucial role for African American insurance professionals. Mentorship programs can effectively encourage young African Americans in the industry to advance their career by helping them build their confidence, networks, and skills. And these programs can increase the number of African Americans in the industry and help more of them reach senior leadership positions.

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