Breaking Barriers: Achieving Diversity and Inclusion in the Insurance Industry
WRITTEN BY JOSHUA MOREY
When the Japanese-American community came out of World War II following internment, one of the areas that we came back to was Leimert Park and South Central L.A. – a predominantly Japanese and African-American community at the time. While the neighborhood may look different now, the relationships formed back then are still powerful today, generations later, and the anecdotes of solidarity give us an example for the present.
With these communities seen as a threat to America post-war or marginalized due to race covenants (clauses that were inserted into property deeds to prevent non-white people from buying or occupying land) during the civil rights movement, Japanese and African-Americans set out to form their own business entities themselves to serve their disenfranchised communities. Respective to the insurance agency, minorities have successfully proven across multiple generations that diversity is good for business. In the 50’s and 60’s, members of the Japanese community formed Western Pioneer Insurance Company, which was one of the only Asian-American owned insurance brokerages at the time. It eventually sold to MAPFRE, which has grown to be a leading multinational insurance group in Latin America. As another example, Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company was one of the largest Black-owned insurance companies in the United States.
As minorities, nobody created products for us, so we created our own.
There’s a history that shows that it can be done. As we reflect upon the successes of generations’ past, Ori-gen is aimed at leveling the playing field and removing barriers that are cost prohibitive and promote negative biases about working with minorities in the future.
We’ve steadily built capacity for generations starting with personal lines, auto and home. By bringing in other minority-owned agencies, this process is expedited and won’t take entire generations to create change.
In an industry that has been predominantly white-led, we’re stepping into completely new territory. The first step for all of us is to check our biases at the door to do right by our clients and communities. We look forward to putting in the work alongside Ori-gen’s trusted legacy partners both current and future.