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Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio. (Photo: House Financial Services Committee)

Practice Management > Diversity and Inclusion

House Panel Wants Insurers to Put Pay Ranges in Job Descriptions

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What You Need to Know

  • House Financial Services staffers found that about 30% of the employees at insurers analyzed were people of color.
  • Top executives and managers were much less likely to be people of color.
  • Some policymakers see pay transparency as a good way to promote diversity in hiring and employment.

House lawmakers’ efforts to increase diversity in employment at U.S. insurers could result in more openness about what insurance company employees earn.

Members of the House Financial Services Committee have suggested in a new report that insurers should put pay ranges in job descriptions to promote transparency and pay equity.

The House Financial Services diversity and inclusion subcommittee talked about the report Tuesday at a hearing the subcommittee held in Washington on diversity and inclusion at 27 large insurers. The committee streamed the hearing live on the web and posted a recording on its website.

What It Means

If pay transparency rules end up applying to insurers, you might be able to use the new pay range disclosures to negotiate for a raise.

If pay range disclosure rules end up applying to a wide range of employers, such as all U.S. employers that qualify as “large employers” for Affordable Care Act health insurance regulation administration, you might be able to use the disclosure rules to help your clients negotiate for raises.

Many states require employers to provide pay ranges only if job applicants ask for the information, but the Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act requires Colorado-based employers to give pay ranges for all job openings, according to an analysis by Pequity, a human resources software company.

If a state in your own market area adopts a pay transparency law similar to the Colorado law, you might be able to use job ad databases to fine-tune marketing efforts both for individual services prospects and for employer plan prospects.

You might find, for example, that experienced high school teachers earn more than you expect, and junior attorneys earn less, and target outreach efforts accordingly.

The Staff Report

The House Financial Services diversity and inclusion subcommittee has already held hearings on diversity and inclusion in the banking and securities sectors.

The staff conducted its survey to get data on diversity and inclusion in insurance.

The participating insurers known primarily for life insurance and annuities were Lincoln Financial, Northwestern Mutual, MassMutual, MetLife, New York Life and Prudential.

The list also included multiline insurers with large life and annuity operations: AIG, Hartford, Nationwide, State Farm and USAA.

In 2021, 30.5% of all of the employees at the participating insurers were people of color, compared with 42% at big banks, 41% at big investment firms and 42% in the general population, according to the House Financial Services staff.

But, at the executive and senior manager levels, only 17% of the employees were people of color. About 7% were Asian, 4.6% were Black and 3.1% were Hispanic or Latino.

The Chair

Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, the subcommittee chair, called the survey results disappointing.

She said in her opening remarks that none of the insurance company CEOs who had been invited to speak at the hearing had agreed to do so.

“Let the record show that I am going to invite all 27 CEOs to meet on Zoom with me,” she said.

Witnesses

The list of witnesses included Eloiza Domingo, the chief diversity officer at Allstate; Kimberly Ross, a senior vice president at the American Council of Life Insurers; and Chlora Lindley-Myers, the Missouri insurance director and the president-elect of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Ross emphasized that the ACLI believes that providing life insurance is a way for its member companies to help American families and promote equity in society.

The ACLI has organized active diversity and equity programs, and it supports H.R. 1277, a bill introduced by Reps. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., that would require any company, including an insurer, that was registered as a securities issuer to put information about board diversity in its proxy statements, Ross said.

“Our commitment is deep and tangible, girded by our 175 years of protecting families,” Ross said.

Lindley-Myers talked about the work of the NAIC’s Special Committee on Race and Diversity, including the committee’s diversity and inclusion workstream. The workstream began asking for public comments on proposed diversity, equity and inclusion recommendations last week. Comments are due Oct. 13.

Pay Transparency

The House Financial Services diversity and inclusion subcommittee heard testimony about pay transparency proposals from Maya Raghu of the National Women’s Law Center at a hearing in April 2021.

“Eliminate pay secrecy policies and provide salary ranges,” Raghu said at the 2021 hearing. “Allowing employees to discuss pay without retaliation and providing more information to applicants about salary  ranges for jobs reduces the information asymmetry and helps  attract diverse talents, and numerous.”

H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act bill, would prohibit employers from punishing workers who talk to each other about their pay. The bill was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. It has 222 Democratic co-sponsors and three Republican cosponsors.

In the new House Financial Services Committee report, staffers included the pay transparency section in a set of recommendations about increasing the effects of diversity and inclusion goals on actual workforce and procurement diversity.

“It is imperative that diversity and inclusion is integrated throughout the entire business function,” the staff said.

The staff did not give any details about how it thinks pay transparency should be implemented.

In addition to recommending that insurers put pay ranges in all job descriptions, the staff recommended that all staff performance reviews include diversity, equity and inclusion evaluations, and that the Federal Insurance Office, an arm of the U.S. Treasury Department, conduct a study analyzing attrition and retention of workers within the insurance industry.

Pictured: Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio. (Photo: House Financial Services Committee)