Diversity in Action: A Discussion with Insurance Industry Leaders
As previewed in Insurance Circular Letter No. 5 (2021), to support New York insurers’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts, the Department of Financial Services is hosting a webinar on actions that insurers can take to increase the diversity of their leadership and broader workforce. The webinar will include two panel discussions. The first panel will provide perspectives from the C-Suite and the second panel will focus on specific DEI practices and initiatives in the insurance industry.
Please register here with password: Diversity072221
My Chi To, Executive Deputy Superintendent for Insurance
My Chi To serves as the Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Insurance Division at the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), which regulates nearly 1,800 insurance companies with assets of $4.7 trillion. In that role, she oversees the regulation and supervision of the health, life, and property and casualty insurance industries in New York State.
Under Superintendent Linda Lacewell’s leadership, My Chi spearheaded the Insurance Division’s efforts to protect New Yorkers during the pandemic, including by waiving copays for COVID-19 testing, mental health services for frontline workers, and all telehealth services, directing health insurers to provide financial and administrative relief to New York hospitals to enable them to devote more staff and resources to caring for COVID-19 patients, requiring insurers to defer premiums for policyholders experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, and working with insurers to provide millions of dollars in premium credits to policyholders. Through DFS FastForward, she worked closely with DFS’s Research and Innovation Division to help insurtechs with innovative ideas navigate DFS regulatory requirements. In collaboration with DFS’s first Director of Sustainability and Climate Initiatives, she oversaw the development of DFS’s supervisory expectations focused on climate change-related financial risks for insurers. In addition, she was instrumental in developing guidance for New York-regulated insurers on the promotion of diversity, equity and inclusion in the insurance industry.
Prior to joining DFS in January 2020, My Chi was a partner in Debevoise & Plimpton’s restructuring group and global insurance practice. She represented clients across the insurance industry, including insurers, reinsurers, pension funds, private equity firms and other capital providers, in a wide range of transactions and restructuring matters. My Chi was awarded the Kathryn R. Heidt Memorial Award by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. She also received the Best Lawyers Under 40 Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
A longstanding advocate for diversity in the legal and business community, My Chi is a member of New York State’s Committee for the Advancement of Women in Leadership in Financial Services. She has recently spoken on the topic of eliminating racial bias in insurance underwriting and improving diversity in the insurance industry.
She received an M.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received an LL.L. and LL.B. in Civil Law and Common Law from the University of Ottawa and was a law clerk to the Hon. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé of the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court of Canada.
Panel One: Perspectives from the C-Suite
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Former President and CEO, TIAA
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. is the Steven A Tananbaum Distinguished Fellow for International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields and a Fortune 100 financial services organization.
Mr. Ferguson is the former Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System. He represented the Federal Reserve on several international policy groups and served on key Federal Reserve System committees, including Payment System Oversight, Reserve Bank Operations, and Supervision and Regulation. As the only Governor in Washington, D.C. on 9/11, he led the Fed’s initial response to the terrorist attacks, taking actions that kept the U.S. financial system functioning while reassuring the global financial community that the U.S. economy would not be paralyzed.
Prior to joining TIAA in April 2008, Mr. Ferguson was head of financial services for Swiss Re, Chairman of Swiss Re America Holding Corporation, and a member of the company’s executive committee. From 1984 to 1997, he was an Associate and Partner at McKinsey & Company. He began his career as an attorney at the New York City office of Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Mr. Ferguson is a member of the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and co-chairs its Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education. He serves on the boards of Alphabet, Inc.; Corning, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc. Mr. Ferguson is also active as an advisor and board member with various private fintech companies.
He serves on the boards of The Conference Board, the Institute for Advanced Study, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Columbia University’s Teachers College. He is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society and a member of the Economic Club of New York, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Group of Thirty, and the National Association for Business Economics.
Mr. Ferguson served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness as well as its predecessor, the Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and he co-chaired the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Long-Run Macro-Economic Effects of the Aging U.S. Population.
Mr. Ferguson holds a B.A., J.D., and a Ph.D. in economics, all from Harvard University.
Tricia Griffith, President and CEO, Progressive
Tricia Griffith was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and elected to the Board of Directors in July of 2016. She is responsible for helping the company become consumers’ and agents’ number one choice and destination for auto, home and other insurance.
Her journey at Progressive began in 1988, when she joined the company as an entry-level claims representative. Since then, Tricia has held several leadership positions, including Chief Human Resources Officer, President of Claims, President of Customer Operations and Personal Lines Chief Operating Officer.
During her tenure as CEO, Tricia has led the company to historic growth. Much of that growth is the result of her strategic approach to increase the company’s book of business among a preferred segment of customers who bundle home and auto insurance. Under her leadership, Progressive customers in that segment have grown from 400,000 to more than 1 million. She’s leading Progressive through that pursuit while continuing to grow the company’s traditional auto business, as Progressive moved from fourth to third on the list of U.S. auto insurers, based on written premium in 2018.
A marketer by study, Tricia moves with incredible speed setting the tone for the entire organization. While her business acumen has driven results, it’s her approachable and authentic leadership style that many employees will cite as a key to the company’s success. Tricia puts a premium on creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees and speaks frequently about the importance of bringing your whole self to work. The efforts have paid off. In 2018, Progressive’s annual Culture Survey placed the company in the 96th percentile of all companies who use Gallup’s survey, showing an engaged culture that’s leading to success. Under Tricia’s leadership, Progressive also achieved the #1 ranking in The Wall Street Journal’s first corporate ranking of diversity and inclusion in 2019.
In December 2018, she was the first woman to be named Businessperson of the Year by Fortune Magazine and ranked 54th on the Forbes World’s Most Powerful Women List. Tricia has also been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine each of the last four years.
Tricia has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University and is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business’ Advanced Management Program. She serves on the board of directors at FedEx, is a member and sits on the board of the Business Roundtable and is an associate of the Business Council.
Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, EmblemHealth
Karen Ignagni serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the EmblemHealth family of companies.
EmblemHealth has protected access to quality care for essential workers, small and large businesses, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries through its health plans, EmblemHealth and ConnectiCare for over 80 years. It has built a network of over 40 primary and specialty physician practices through AdvantageCare Physicians and BronxDocs. EmblemHealth [email protected] plays a critical role in serving the occupational health needs of eastern New York and EmblemHealth Family Dental Practices serve New York State workers. EmblemHealth recently launched WellSpark, a national wellness company focused on bridging the gap between physical and mental wellness.
During her tenure as CEO and President, Ms. Ignagni has led an unprecedented modernization effort with a relentless focus on the customer experience. EmblemHealth’s growth and expansion of services has led to many accolades for her leadership in the health care industry, earning recognition by leading publications including the New York Times, City and State, Modern Healthcare, Crain’s, National Journal, Time Magazine, and Fortune Magazine.
In 2021, Ms. Ignagni was once again named one of City & State New York’s Labor Power 100 and City & State New York’s Health Power 100. In 2020, Ms. Ignagni was recognized for her work by several publications, including Crain’s New York Business’ Notable in Health Care leaders, City & State New York’s Health Power 100, Labor Power 100, and Women’s Power 100 and was named one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s 2020 Women to Watch in Health IT. In 2019, Ms. Ignagni was named one of Crain’s New York Business’ 50 Most Powerful Women in New York and was on the list of City & State New York’s Labor Power 100, The Responsible 100, and Women Power 100. She serves on the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) State Insurance Advisory Board, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) State Insurance Women Leadership Committee and also on the New York State Department of Health’s Marketplace Advisory Committee. In 2018, she was named one of Crain’s New York Business’ Notable Women in Health Care, named one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s Female Health IT Leaders to Know and was on the list of City & State New York’s Women Power 100. From 2017 – 2019, Ms. Ignagni served as Chair of Columbia University’s National Board of Advisors for Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health. From 2016 – November 2019, she served on the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Special Medical Advisory Committee.
Prior to joining EmblemHealth in 2015, Ms. Ignagni was President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurance industry association that represents providers of health and supplemental benefits to more than 200 million Americans. Under her leadership, AHIP became the leading voice for the health plan community.
Ms. Ignagni also directed the AFL-CIO’s Department of Employee Benefits. She was a Professional Staff Member on the U.S. Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee and worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Ignagni resides in New York City with her husband.
Panel Two: DEI Practices and Initiatives in the Insurance Industry
Gregory P. Jacobson, co-CEO, The Jacobson Group
Gregory P. Jacobson is co-Chief Executive Officer of The Jacobson Group, the leading provider of talent to the insurance industry. Greg has successfully guided the executive search and staffing firm through substantial growth over the years. In addition to overseeing the organization, Greg manages select search assignments for the firm's executive search practice and has consulted companies globally in all areas of insurance. He has successfully assisted leading insurance organizations in the acquisition of critical senior-level talent including Board Members, CEOs and other C-suite roles.
Marguerite Tortorello, Managing Director, Insurance Careers Movement
Marguerite Tortorello is the Managing Director of the Insurance Careers Movement. She leads 1,000+ insurance organizations that are collaborating to inspire professionals to choose insurance as a career and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry. Marguerite was honored to serve as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush while working in the White House. Marguerite served in the Administration during September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. Previously, she worked for Allstate and the Property Casualty Insurers Association. Marguerite serves on the Board of Trustees for the University of St. Francis.
Lauren C. Young, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Travelers
Dr. Lauren Young is the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Travelers and is responsible for the day-to-day management and leadership of Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion.
Dr. Young, who joined Travelers in 2021, has more than 15 years of experience guiding senior leaders through complex organizational change and creating culture transformations. Early in her career, she developed brand marketing for The Kraft Heinz Company. The author of two marketing books and founder of a consulting firm, she expanded her expertise to build sustainable corporate responsibility strategies that drive global organizational change, eliminate biased processes and procedures in corporate culture and advance diverse talent into leadership roles. Most recently, Dr. Young served as the AVP and Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Zurich North America, responsible for driving impactful change for the United States and Canada.
She was recognized by Diversity MBA as one of the “Top 100 Under 50 Executive Leaders” in diversity, inclusion and equity, and she was named to Insurance Business America’s “Hot 100 2021” list.
Dr. Young earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and doctor of education degree in organizational change and leadership from the University of Southern California. She also holds an SHRM-CP certification in human resources management and is a faculty member of the University of Southern California’s Psychology department.