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Ola Jacob: ‘Flying the flag’ for variety and inclusion equals bigger innovation | IT Interview

Ola Jacob: ‘Flying the flag’ for variety and inclusion equals bigger innovation | IT Interview

It used to be a school lifelong finding out scholarship, centered at mature scholars, that to start with sparked Ola Jacob’s hobby on this planet of insurance coverage. Now, after greater than a decade of operating within the business, he hopes to be an instance to different ethnic minority folks bearing in mind their profession choices.

Jacob is Nigerian, however used to be born in the United Kingdom. After finishing a bachelor’s stage in pc science and trade at College School London, he noticed a chance to use era to a few of the insurance coverage sector’s old-fashioned handbook processes in renters’ insurance coverage.

Ola Jacob: ‘Flying the flag’ for variety and inclusion equals bigger innovation | IT Interview

Rapid ahead a couple of years and Jacob has labored for the likes of Gallagher and Alesco Chance Control Products and services. His interest for era and innovation, on the other hand, introduced him to parametric industrial flood insurance coverage specialist FloodFlash in 2019.

Now hired because the insurtech’s dealer good fortune supervisor, Jacob tells Insurance coverage Occasions: “As a dealer, I used to be nearly as a result of I used to be an ethnic minority. Some folks would gravitate in opposition to me as a result of I used to be other and I may just get the activity performed.

“That’s the place [ethnic minorities] can are available in – fly the flag and make folks really feel comfy to convey their complete selves to paintings. However this can be a balancing act of what’s an assault on tradition as opposed to one thing this is other, that doesn’t make sense within the office.”

For Jacob, expanding variety in insurance coverage is the “actual win” as a result of it may spice up a trade’s creativity, earnings and have an effect on thru variety of concept.

Variety ends up in innovation 

Retention and recruitment of ethnic minority folks in insurance coverage jobs has at all times been an issue, with the business’s tradition incessantly cited as a subject. 

For instance, hiring managers incessantly make use of like-minded folks to themselves – whether or not consciously or unconsciously. This “places ethnic minorities at an obstacle” and is the place measures reminiscent of blind CVs, the place a candidate’s title has been got rid of, may also be helpful.

Talking about folks now not born in the United Kingdom operating in insurance coverage, Jacob provides: “It’s a difficult surroundings as you need to rise up for your self.”

He offers credit score to networks just like the African Caribbean Insurance coverage Community (ACIN), the insurance coverage Cultural Consciousness Community (Ican) for in the hunt for to beef up variety in insurance coverage, in addition to recognizes beef up from Arthur J Gallagher’s Matthew Pike and Patrick Gallagher Jr, plus Aon’s Dominic Christian, who all helped him on his profession adventure.

Jacob says: “Elevating the ceiling is likely one of the largest issues we will do for the ethnic minority neighborhood which can be under-represented because it offers others hope that they may be able to do it.”

He additionally recommends having a mentor in places of work. Jacob is recently concerned within the hiring procedure at FloodFlash, which he says is “independent” for the reason that insurtech simply needs the most efficient individual for the activity.

“This is the place issues may also be in reality tough, when you’re able to rent the most efficient individual for the activity. To be leading edge, you want a various staff of folks as a result of all of them convey other concepts to the desk,” he provides.

Jacob additionally disagrees with ethnic minority quotas within the office as a result of he believes firms must be that specialize in appointing the most efficient individual for the activity, moderately than checking variety tick packing containers. He provides: “It shouldn’t subject what color you’re, folks must be ignorant of color.”

Black Lives Matter protests

Jacob continues: “[Recruitment quotas put] a magnifying glass on ethnic minorities. You’ll use it for just right or unhealthy. BLM is a smart reason, however the true factor that must be addressed inside this is how we building up the commercial energy of ethnic minorities.”

Even if he does now not imagine any of his employers have selected him on account of his color, ”from time to time it’s the object that makes you stand out since you’re the one individual of a selected ethnicity within the room”, he provides.

Jacob says his largest problem is “at all times feeling such as you should destroy down a barrier, when you wish to have to be judged on talent and ability”.


Jacob emphasises that having extra various folks hired in insurance coverage will assist inspire a mixture of more youthful folks viewing the sphere as a viable profession possibility.

Jacob volunteers at The Wickers Charity, which helps younger folks in London.

Following a chat on activity alternatives for 8 to 18-year-olds, Jacob notes that for the reason that youths ”didn’t see any person that appears like them in [insurance roles]”, it subsequently ”didn’t resonate”.

He continues: “The ones from poorer backgrounds don’t find out about insurance coverage to believe it as a profession possibility. The one explanation why I knew about insurance coverage used to be because of my [university] scholarship.” 




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