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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) told the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Special Committee (EX) on Race and Insurance that it is doing the hard work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) that the committee challenged industry associations to do a year ago.

Christina Brady, Chief Operating Officer, and Shani Armon, Chief Membership and Marketing Officer at IRI, reviewed the association’s ongoing, comprehensive DEI efforts and described how they align with the NAIC’s recommendations across several areas.

“IRI and its members are committed to advancing DEI across the insured retirement industry,” Brady said. “We appreciate the NAIC’s leadership in establishing recommendations for industry DEI efforts. We are happy to report that IRI is committed to doing the hard work on DEI and that our efforts align with the NAIC recommendations.”

Armon added, “Since 2020, when IRI established a board of directors-level DEI Advisory Council, we have set priorities for outreach and education of college students, formed partnerships with industry DEI-focused groups, created and distributed resources to members, and embedded DEI in advocacy and access efforts.”

Armon and Brady each serve a leadership role in an industry DEI-focused organization. Armon is a board member of the Financial Alliance for Racial Equity (FARE). Brady chairs the Engagement Committee for the Coalition for Equity in Wholesaling (the Coalition).

IRI has conducted industry benchmarking research with the Coalition, with a second edition underway. IRI has participated in two FARE events, including a Howard University job fair for students who attend historically Black universities and colleges (HBCUs).

Additionally, IRI created a compendium of best practices that the association’s member companies use to incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into hiring early- and mid-career employees.

“Another core element of IRI’s DEI efforts is our Women’s in Leadership Initiative, which provides opportunities for networking and education through shared experiences and storytelling to promote the advancement and inclusion of women in the finance industry,” Armon said.

IRI’s advocacy efforts continue to focus on expanding workplace retirement savings opportunities for employees, particularly among small businesses that employ many Black and Latino workers.

IRI successfully advocated for several provisions in the Secure 2.0 Act of 2022, enacted last year, which will expand savings opportunities for small business employees. IRI continues to press for additional legislation to require businesses to offer a retirement plan and defends against efforts to limit access to needed professional financial advice.

“As a trade organization, we are uniquely positioned to serve as a conduit of education and a convener of thought leadership for the insured retirement industry,” Armon said. “We do not take this responsibility lightly, particularly regarding the importance of increasing DEI practices  within  financial service organizations and advocacy efforts.”

“We are proud of our industry’s DEI commitment and efforts,” Brady said. “We have accomplished a great deal, but so much more is needed, and IRI will continue to be an industry leader on this vital mission.”

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Contact: Dan Zielinski

 

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