Life, health and annuity groups and companies have stood up to condemn the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis May 25 as Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, took a knee to his neck, while he was being videotaped, as onlookers asked him to get up.
The killing has sparked days of protests in Minneapolis and its twin city, St. Paul, Minnesota. Fire crews are fighting dozens of fires. Local officials have estimated that about 440 businesses in the cities have been damaged or looted.
The list of insurers with headquarters in and around the Minneapolis and St. Paul includes Ameriprise Financial Inc., Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Securian Financial Group Inc., Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Those companies have already been coping with the effects of the COVID-19 impact on claims and operations. Ameriprise, for example, told ThinkAdvisor that the effects of the reaction to George Floyd’s death has been minimum, because most of the company’s employees, and most of its 9,900 advisors, are already working remotely.
“For the small number who are working from the office, we are making decisions based on local safety conditions, and working with them to ensure they remain safe,” Ameriprise told ThinkAdvisor reporter Janet Levaux.
Many groups and companies have put out letters, statements or announcements, or signed on as signatories to Minnesota groups’ letters, to express their views on George Floyd’s death.
The organizations involved have all expressed sadness and anger for what happened, and talked about the organizations’ role in fighting racial injustice.
Here are excerpts from some of what the life and health community organizations have said.
A joint statement on behalf of the U.S. life insurance community
Signed by: Susan Neely, president of the American College of Life Insurers; George Nichols III, president of the American College of Financial Services; Marc Cadin, president of AALU/GAMA; Kevin Mayeux, chief executive officer of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors; and David Levenson, president of LIMRA, LOMA and LL Global.
The life insurance community grieves with the nation over the racial injustice, brutality and bigotry that took the life of George Floyd and the lives of so many others. Too often, the justice system has failed, bringing devastating consequences such as destroyed hope, fear and division.
Overcoming today’s agonizing rupture and advancing promise for all will require engagement by each of us – a resolve to face the pain, anxiety and frustration experienced by Black Americans and others subjected to prejudice. We must move forward with moral purpose, making contributions with our own abilities and sustained commitment.
For our part – on behalf of life insurance companies, producers and financial educators – when we say we’re committed to providing financial security to all Americans, we mean it.
We stand committed to helping all people take care of those they love – our most critical mission. Financial well-being is not just a state of mind, and we must focus our collective knowledge on empowering prosperity and opening avenues for collective growth. We are committed to identifying new policies that will provide greater financial security to more people – particularly for the most vulnerable among us.
We stand committed to sustained partnership in the community to drive solutions to address systemic inequality. And we stand committed to fostering diversity and inclusion for our employees and the workforce.
Building a diverse and inclusive profession for those we serve and those we employ is a journey. And we’re in it for the long term.
The tumult, hurt and anger we see today must be addressed for every person seeking to heal, find peace, experience equality, achieve unity, believe in the present, and have faith in the future for themselves and their families. As Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
We do it together.
A statement Dr. Marc Gorelick, president of Children’s Minnesota hospital, issued in response to the recent tragedy.
Signed by: 28 executives, including Dr. Craig Samitt, president of BlueCrossMN, and Christopher Hilger, president of Securian
As business leaders in Minnesota committed to the principles of greater equity, diversity and inclusion in our companies and in our community, we are deeply saddened and horrified by the recent death of Mr. George Floyd.
We share our sincere condolences with his family and friends, and all those who mourn this tragic loss. His death while being restrained by Minneapolis police officers is yet another senseless loss of life — one that reflects deeply ingrained, long-standing injustice within our society.
We are encouraged by the quick response of the authorities in terminating the officers and launching an investigation. We anticipate that it will lead to justice and accountability.