Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais has taken the lead in national discussions on race, diversity and inclusion within the insurance industry and insurance practices.

In addition to leading forums on those issues for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Mais, who is a resident of Wilton, has also lent his voice to the association’s podcast, The Regulators, guest hosting a program on race and insurance.

“Inclusion means having everyone having a voice, and for as vital an industry as insurance, it means helping all members of our Connecticut family get access to the products that are relevant to them,” Mais said.

For the podcast, Mais discussed racial equity in the delivery and sale of insurance products, as well as racial diversity within the insurance industry. His guests included: California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara; New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride; Aflac Chief Executive Officer, Dan Amos; and Consumer Advocate and Chair of the Connecticut Insurance Department Subcommittee on Big Data, Sonja Larkin-Thorne.

“This podcast is just one of the many conversations that commissioners are having about how we can work together to identify and address biases,” Mais said in a press release. “Advancing issues related to racial equity requires talking openly about race and insurance practices, even if the conversations are difficult.”

Mais is also a member of the NAIC’s recently created Special Executive Committee on Race and Insurance. Created in July, this committee is charged with conducting research and analyzing issues of diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector; engaging with a broad group of stakeholders on issues related to race, diversity, and inclusion in, and access to, the insurance sector and insurance products; examining and determining which practices or barriers exist in the insurance sector that potentially disadvantage persons of color and other underrepresented groups; and making recommendations for action to members of the association.

During the NAIC National Summer Meeting, Mais moderated a panel discussion, “Current Racially Based Challenges within the Insurance Sector,” which was part of a larger special session on Race and Insurance. The panel of consumer advocates reviewed industry practices that potentially disadvantage minorities, including use of big-data and algorithmic-based underwriting models, access to quality and affordable healthcare, and low levels of financial literacy and access to insurance/financial products.

To close out the special session on Race and Insurance, Mais joined the “Increasing Diversity and Inclusion within the Insurance Sector” panel. The group discussed specific steps regulators and stakeholders can take to improve diversity and inclusion within the insurance sector.

A recording of the Race and Insurance panel discussions is available online at: https://youtu.be/H6NwNJ0AmtE

Mais said the Connecticut Insurance Department is “committed to working with state and national partners and the industry on these important issues. We are committed to protecting consumers from any discrimination and finding a solution where all residents have access to insurance and removing barriers that will improve access in under-served communities.”

On a state level, Mais established an Inclusion Council in the department, chaired by Lady Mendoza, its first ever chief inclusion officer.

Mais has also participated in efforts led by Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz to address social inequities in Connecticut, including the Council on Women and Girls and cultural competency initiatives.

Information: insurance@ct.gov