Diversity Proponent

We welcome autumn-- a season of change-- with mixed emotions. We are grateful for the reprieve from the summer heat, but are also saddened by the passing of a hero. On September 18, 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg bid us adieu. We, like many of you, were not ready to say goodbye.

Ours is a team of three women -- all of whom are dedicated working mothers with little ones at home -- and it is not lost on us how our respective roles would not exist were it not for this brilliant and passionate devotee of justice and equality.

The memory of the late Justice Ginsburg is a recurring reminder of why we are committed to the work that we do everyday. Her passing also brings forth an opportunity for us honor her legacy by continuing to expand diversity and equity with regard to supplier and board diversity in the insurance industry. We've been working behind the scenes on delivering a great 2020 Virtual Insurance Diversity Summit replete with some amazing workshops led by a powerhouse line-up of speakers and industry leaders that we can't wait to share with you. On top of that, we've considerably reduced any barriers to entry so that it will be easier for you to join us. Did we mention that the Summit is free and completely online? Let us know you're coming and register today!

One final change you may have noticed is that our Diversity Digest got a mini makeover. We hope that you enjoy our new layout and fresh look. Please take a moment to check out the public notices and links for this month's upcoming public meetings towards the latter portion of this newsletter and online at www.insurance.ca.gov/diversity.

We look forward to having you join us.

In Solidarity,
The Insurance Diversity Initiative Team
Forging Justice For Tomorrow
Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, "My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way." But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that's the dissenter's hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
With Gratitude, We Honor Your Legacy
How do you pay tribute to her legacy? Her life was an inspiration to millions as she advocated for gender equality and women’s rights.

An incredible legal mind, she shined at both Harvard and Columbia. She made law review, while caring for her ill husband and her infant daughter. And yet, none of the firms in New York City would hire her upon graduating from law school simply because of her gender. “In the ’50s, the traditional law firms were just beginning to turn around on hiring Jews,” she said in an interview, “but to be a woman, a Jew, and a mother, to boot, that combination was a bit much.” 

The American Civil Liberties Union approached Justice Ginsburg to direct the Women's Rights Project, which she did with her trademark quiet brilliance. She took on cases that demonstrated how the use of gender as a basis for differential treatment was harmful not only to women but also to men, citing the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. As an attorney, Justice Ginsburg would successfully argue six landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, during one of which she most famously delivered a line borrowed from abolitionist Sarah Grimké: “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

Later, President Carter nominated Justice Ginsburg to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980 and President Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court in 1993. Her confirmation vote was an overwhelming 96 yays to 1 nay and 1 abstention.

A staunch defender of civil rights, Justice Ginsburg was a giant at 5 feet tall, easily recognizable with her iconic lace collars and oversized spectacles. To many, she became aptly known by her 3-letter initials: RBG. Throughout her life, Justice Ginsburg was a lifelong advocate for liberty, equality, and symbolic for what America is and could be, and the promise of a better tomorrow.

She asked of us to remember her as “someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.” We remember her as someone with the humanity, dignity, intelligence, ferocity, courage, and empathy that we all wish we had.

May RBG's memory be a legacy for future generations -- notorious for all time and all the right reasons.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Celebrating it's 75th year, along with the 30th year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities.

Held annually, National Disability Employment Awareness Month is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observances held at the grassroots level across the nation every year. Employers of all sizes and in all industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM. Suggestions range from simple, such as putting up a poster, to comprehensive, such as implementing a disability education program. Regardless, all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce, one where every person is recognized for his or her abilities — every day of every month.
California Governor Signs Landmark Legislation to Tackle Systemic Racism and Advance Equity
2020 continues to be a year full of historic lessons, as our nation (and world) copes with a global pandemic and the devastation created by systemic racism on our society. However, we saw a light of hope during the last few days of September. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed key pieces of racial justice legislation, ending the month with a powerful message on racial justice during a live video signing ceremony among key stakeholders.

“As a nation, we can only truly thrive when every one of us has the opportunity to thrive. Our painful history of slavery has evolved into structural racism and bias built into and permeating throughout our democratic and economic institutions,” said Governor Newsom. “California’s rich diversity is our greatest asset, and we won’t turn away from this moment to make right the discrimination and disadvantages that Black Californians and people of color still face. While there is still so much work to do to unravel this legacy, these pieces of legislation are important steps in the right direction to building a more inclusive and equitable future for all.”

The Governor signed the following bills to address systemic racism:

  • SB 1255 or "The Equal Insurance HIV Act" authored by Senator Gonzalez and sponsored by Commissioner Lara – This law will end the unjust practice of insurance companies discriminating against HIV-positive individuals.. For more than thirty years insurers have been allowed to deny life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on a positive HIV test and this bill now signed into law is a significant step forward to reflect the advancements in medical treatments for people living with HIV and to ensure HIV positive individuals and their families have access to life and disability income insurance. “The signing of the Equal HIV Insurance Act means once and for all that HIV status will not be a barrier to protecting yourself and your loved ones through life and disability income insurance,” said Commissioner Lara. “I thank Governor Newsom for recognizing the need for this legislation and ending this decades-old discrimination against HIV-positive individuals living in our Golden State who are living longer and healthier lives today.”

  • AB 979 by Assemblymember Chris Holden – This law requires each publicly held corporation whose principal executive offices are located in California to have a minimum number of directors from underrepresented communities on its board of directors. Upon Governor Newsom’s signing of AB 979, Assemblymember Holden emphasized, “The new law represents a big step forward for racial equity. While some corporations were already leading the way to combat implicit bias, now, all of California’s corporate boards will better reflect the diversity of our State. This is a win-win as ethnically diverse boards have shown to outperform those that lack diversity.”

Other racial justice measures signed by Governor Newsom include:

  • AB 2542 or "The California Racial Justice Act" by Assemblymember Ash Kalra – Criminal procedure: discrimination.
  • AB 3070 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber – Juries: peremptory challenges.
  • AB 3121 by Assemblymember Shirley Weber – Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans.
Asian Representation on Fortune 1000 Boards
Insurance Diversity Task Force Member Annalisa Barrett recently collaborated with Ascend Pinnacle, the largest and only network of Asian American corporate board directors, to complete the first report regarding Asian American representation in publicly traded boards in the United States.

Based on data provided by Ascend Pinnacle, the KPMG Board Leadership Center prepared an analysis of the state of Asian representation on the boards of 977 publicly traded companies on the 2020 Fortune 1000 list.

Among the key findings:

  • In a business environment that is increasingly dependent on the use of technology for strategic advantage in most industries, Asian business leaders can be looked to as a resource for director candidates with relevant technology experience, and 24.1 percent are already serving on boards in the technology industry.

  • The Asian director community is younger than the overall Fortune 1000 director community, with almost 60 percent of Asian directors in their 50s or younger compared to 31.5 percent of Fortune 1000 directors overall.

  • Most Asian directors would not be considered over-boarded, and in fact a high percentage serve on only one board—63.9 percent for Asian directors compared to 58.0 percent for all Fortune 1000 directors.

As boards provide oversight and guidance in a highly complex and increasingly challenging business environment, a diverse set of lenses and relevant experiences in the boardroom are more important than ever. And as boards expand their networks to include highly qualified executives with relevant expertise and diverse backgrounds, opportunities to address Asian American under-representation in the boardroom can be expected to grow.

Congratulations Annalisa for your work on this important topic.

2020 Virtual Insurance Diversity Summit
Register today for the 2020 Virtual Insurance Diversity Summit! This free, two day event includes:

  • Matchmaking Roundtable
  • Resource Expo
  • Engaging Webinars led by experts on the topics of race and diversity in the insurance industry, diversity in the boardroom, navigating the insurer procurement pathways, building resilience in business strategies
  • And much more!
This section of the newsletter contains all of the information regarding upcoming Commissioner TeleTownhalls and Insurance Diversity meetings. All meetings are open to the public.
Upcoming Commissioner Tele-Townhalls

When: October 7, 2020 - 1:30 p.m. PDT
Event: Chinese Community Small Business Virtual Town Hall with Commissioner Lara and Treasurer Ma

When: October 14, 2020, 1:30 p.m. PDT
Event: Virtual Town Hall with Commissioner Lara and Sacramento Councilmember Eric Guerra

When: November 13, 2020, 1:30 p.m. PDT
Event: Virtual Town Hall with Commissioner Lara and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez

Upcoming Insurance Diversity Task Force Meetings

When: October 15, 2020, 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. PDT
Event: Insurance Diversity Task Force Governing Board Diversity Advisory Group Meeting 
Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/y28nuogy
Meeting ID: 919 1459 7103
Meeting Password: 869665
Call In Number: 877-810-9415
Call In Access Code: 436691

When: October 15, 2020, 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. PDT
Event: Insurance Diversity Task Force Supplier Diversity Advisory Group Meeting
Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/yxckcoaq
Meeting ID: 951 6550 9407
Meeting Password: 482738
Call In Number: 877-810-9415
Call in Access Code: 436691

When: October 20, 2020, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. PDT
Event: 2020 Virtual Insurance Diversity Summit Planning Meeting
Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/y3f9vmea
Meeting ID: 912 4752 5857
Meeting Password: 345897
Call In Number: 877-810-9415
Call In Access Code: 436691

October 12 - 13, 2020
This event is being held virtually

October 26-29, 2020
This event is being held virtually

November 12 - 13, 2020
This event is being held virtually

Beginning November 12 and through December, 2020
These events will be held virtually