Diversity and inclusion - a competitive advantage

13 Jun 2013

Organised by: Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue


“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.”
James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Clouds

Many organisations still struggle to recruit and maintain diverse workforces, even though it has been repeatedly demonstrated that diversity can lead to better collective decision making.

Demographic trends are putting pressure on social welfare systems and economies, questioning conventional working age windows. The workplace expectations and values of the new working generation are shifting the status quo and current practices. At the same time companies are not effectively tapping into the talents, skills and wisdom of half of the population: women offer a vast under exploited talent pool. With increasing globalisation, managers are facing obvious and hidden cultural/ linguistic differences in running virtual teams across geographies and time zones.

The future belongs to those who embrace diversity. This applies equally to the insurance. If the industry can be pro-active in integrating a diverse workforce, it has the potential to become a beacon for talent.



Welcome coffee and registration


Welcome and introduction
Nia Joynson-Romanzina, Head Diversity & Inclusion, Swiss Re


Diversity and inclusion
Diversity as a means of enhancing performance
Michel M. Liès, Group CEO, Swiss Re


Societal concerns
Diversity and gender balance - a competitive advantage for the insurance sector
Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship




Demographic and social changes
Why diversity matters to the future of the insurance industry
Patrick Dixon, Futurist, Founder & Chairman, Global Change Ltd


Gender diversity
Tackling the talent gap in the insurance industry
Barbara C. Bufkin, Executive Vice President Corporate Business Development, Argo Group


Coffee break


Leadership diversity
What next for multinationals?

Lord Davies of Abersoch, Partner and Vice Chairman, Corsair Capital


Panel discussion
The benefits of embracing diversity

Moderated by Patrick Dixon, Futurist, Founder & Chairman, Global Change Ltd

  • Sinéad Browne, Chief Operating Officer, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty AG
  • David Cole, Group Chief Risk Officer, Swiss Re
  • Ann Liden Haugh, Group Chief of Staff, Zurich Insurance Group
  • Jean-Christophe Ménioux, Chief Risk Officer, AXA Group






Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue organised a full-day event during which a panel of distinguished business and opinion leaders, which included top management from Zurich Insurance group, AXA Group, Argo Group and Allianz, talked about how Diversity & Inclusion is providing a strategic business advantage to those companies that embrace it. Research supports the claim that companies without diversity of thought and opinion perform poorer
than those that fully tap into the wealth of talent that comes from all kinds of visible and invisible diversity.

The first speaker was Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. Ms. Reding spoke about gender inequality in Europe, how it is hurting the business, and what concrete steps both governments and companies are doing to combat that trend. In particular, Vice President Reding is considering enforcing a quota of 40% for female members of executive boards in case companies do not voluntarily do more to proactively increase female participation at these non-executive directorships. Norway, a non-EU country, has introduced such quotas in 2003 amids much controversy, but the topic is a non-issue today, with the country easily exceeding the goals set out by the quota system.

Click here to read the whole article or find out more on swissre.com.