Summer is in full swing, and as you continue to unwind and perhaps even take a much-needed vacation to recharge your mind and body, it's equally important to remain conscious of your social wellness, or the relationship you have with yourself and your interactions with other people.

This month's newsletter features some tips and strategies that we hope you'll find helpful to focus on your social well-being. For starters, we've also been taking our own advice. Whether it's walking with our aging parents, taking our children out for nature hikes, or scheduling those long overdue outings with friends, neighbors, and family, these activities have done wonders for our own well-being.

We hope that you will join us in building positive habits that strengthen your support systems and optimize your overall health.

In Solidarity,
The Insurance Diversity Initiative Team
Social wellness means nurturing yourself and your relationships.

It means giving and receiving social support - ensuring that you have friends and other people, including family, to turn to in times of need or crisis to give you a broader focus and positive self-image.

Social support enhances quality of life and provides a buffer against adverse life events. Social support can take different forms:

  • Emotional (sometimes called non-tangible) support refers to the actions people take to make someone else feel cared for.
  • Instrumental support refers to the physical, such as money and housekeeping.
  • Informational support means providing information to help someone.

One of the earliest studies on the physical and psychological health benefits of social support was in 1905. Dr. Joseph Pratt, an internist from Boston, gathered a group of tuberculosis patients together to educate them about hygiene in relation to their illness. This "support group" provided early evidence of the power of psychological support in physical health and healing.

Why is Social Wellness Important?

Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. The health risks from being alone or isolated in one's life are comparable to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, blood pressure, and obesity.

Research shows that:

  • People who have a strong social network tend to live longer.
  • The heart and blood pressure of people with healthy relationships respond better to stress.
  • Strong social networks are associated with a healthier endocrine system and healthier cardiovascular functioning.
  • Healthy social networks enhance the immune system's ability to fight off infectious diseases.

Read more about Social Wellness Month and access your Social Wellness Toolkit from the National Institutes of Health.
The Economic State of Black America:
What Is and What Could Be
The disparities on display during the COVID-19 pandemic were a jolt to America’s conscience. Job losses were greater for people of color, many of whom lacked savings to cushion the financial blow. The long-standing issues of underperforming public schools and gaps in digital infrastructure exacerbated learning losses among children of color. With Black workers concentrated in low-wage frontline jobs that could not be done remotely, exposure to the virus and inadequate access to healthcare cost lives, widening an already sharp racial gap in life expectancy.

This research provides a fact base to document the racial gaps that exist in the US economy today and offer a vision of what could be gained if they were closed. We adopt the lens of the economic roles individuals play as workers, business owners, savers/investors, consumers, and residents. These roles are obviously not neat silos. But collectively, they offer a multidimensional view of economic life, examining how individuals make a living, spend their incomes, and build wealth or manage debt.

The sobering picture that emerges is meant not to discourage but to galvanize. Addressing the wage disparities described in our research alone could propel an estimated two million Black Americans into the middle class for the first time. This could reverse current trends, with cascading effects lifting the prospects of the next generation even further.

Board Diversity Disclosures Show Process and Progress
Board diversity continues to be one of the most critical topics in corporate governance for good reason. If boards of directors are unable (or unwilling) to hire and retain voices at the table that reflect the company’s shareholders, employees, customers and other outside stakeholders, then they won’t effectively be able to advise executives on issues that affect their larger ecosystems.

Boards are moving from talk to action. For example, representation of women on Russell 3000 boards has increased more than 60% since 2016, reaching almost 25% overall, according to the latest Equilar Gender Diversity Index. In addition, representation of racial and ethnic minorities in Equilar 500 director seats is nearing 20% overall, as data from the Equilar Board Factbook show.

These figures are vast improvements and deserve accolades and attention for rapid gains in recent years. However, they also shine a light on the fact that women and minorities are underrepresented by large factors in comparison to their share of the population and the workforce.

Women account for half the population and the overall workforce, yet only one-quarter of board seats. Meanwhile, non-white individuals account for approximately 40% of the U.S. population. Within that, Black Americans account for about 12%, but only 8.8% of board seats, and Hispanic Americans account for over 18% of the U.S. population, but less than 5% of directorships.

It’s with this backdrop that investors and other corporate stakeholders have pushed hard for company disclosures to state what progress is being made, what processes have been put in place, and what goals have been set to reach a state of board representation that appropriately reflects a company’s shareholders, employees and customers. This may not always have a 1:1 relationship to overall representation among the populace, but in almost all cases it will be more than what is there currently.

Equilar recently conducted research on board diversity disclosures among Russell 3000 companies that had filed an annual proxy statement between March and mid-April 2021. The research identified companies that discuss statistics about their boards as well as companies that disclose the race or ethnicity of specific board members. The latter information is critical, as reliable data on racial and ethnic composition requires self-identification.

Among the companies included in the study, nearly half, or 48.7%, disclosed a detailed breakdown inclusive of gender diversity on their boards, and just over one-third disclosed a race/ethnicity breakdown. A very small portion, 0.4%, indicated sexual orientation as a defining characteristic of their board directors.

Read the article from Equilar.

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Senate Bill 655 (Bradford) passed through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on July 7, 2021. The bill is now headed for an Assembly Floor vote and then to the Governor's desk. We are so appreciative of your support in this important legislation.

SB 655 builds upon the progress of our Department's diversity initiatives, and makes greater strides in the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in California's $340 billion insurance industry by:

  • Codifying reporting requirements for underrepresented groups on insurance company boards, including disclosures on an insurance company's board diversity policy statement or its measurable goals;
  • Lowering the existing California premium reporting threshold value of insurance companies’ reporting on its board and supplier diversity data; and
  • Establishing a definition for the term “diverse investment manager” as a means for insurance companies to target their social-impact


Let's help ensure the voices of our diverse communities are represented. To learn more, check out the SB 655 Fact Sheet from Senator Bradford's office and track the progress of SB 655 at: www.tinyurl.com/sb655!
Yes, you read that correctly, we have revised the dates of our 2021 Virtual Insurance Diversity Summit to October 7th and 8th. The Diversity team and Task Force are hard at work planning an engaging, informative and inspiring event for you. Registration opens later this summer, so stay connected for more details. Visit the Insurance Diversity site for the latest updates.
This section of the newsletter contains all of the information regarding upcoming Commissioner Virtual Townhalls and Insurance Diversity Task Force meetings. All meetings are open to the public.
Upcoming Commissioner
Virtual Townhalls

Date: Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 1:30 pm PDT
Event: Statewide Nonprofit Organizations Insurance and Resources Town Hall with California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits)
Upcoming Insurance Diversity Task Force Meetings

Date: Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 9 am-10 am PDT
Event: Insurance Diversity Task Force Governing Board Diversity Advisory Group Meeting
Meeting Link: tinyurl.com/tjc34btc
Call In Number: 877 810 9415
Call In Access Code: 436691

Date: Thursday, July 15, 2021, 1pm - 2pm PDT
Event: Insurance Diversity Task Force Supplier Diversity Advisory Group Meeting
Meeting Link: tinyurl.com/2ff9g4xo
Call In Number: 877 810 9415
Call In Access Code: 436691

Date: Tuesday, July 27, 2021, 1pm - 2 pm PDT
Event: Insurance Diversity Task Force Summit Planning Meeting
Meeting Link: https://tinyurl.com/h963n7ds        
Call In Number: 877-810-9415
Call In Access Code: 436691
July 15, 2021
This event will be held virtually
No events currently on the calendar.