The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the insurance industry Monday to reach out to minorities as employees, agents and customers, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is good business.
Speaking before the Independent Insurance Agents of America 105th Annual Convention & InfoXchange, Jackson urged more than 1,000 industry representatives to welcome minority participation in the insurance business. “Has the insurance industry caught on yet that diversity means more market, more talent, more money and growth?” he asked the group, which also included members of the National African-American Insurance Association (NAAIA) and the Latin-American Association of Insurance Agencies (LAAIA). “It’s the morally right thing to do. It’s also cost-efficient.” T
he long-time civil rights activist also condemned redlining. He said redlining was nothing more than insurers limiting their own market reach. How many companies, he asked, “want to fight for the right to remain small?” Jackson, president of the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, said diversifying is recognizing that world and national markets are changing. “Let’s take off the blinders,” he said. “Let’s see the markets.”
He pointed to the fact that, because so many minorities who need insurance are going unserved, there is “almost a $1 trillion American [insurance] market that is untapped,” and added “What’s in front of us is an agenda of shared economic security.” The two-time presidential candidate also urged the insurance industry to work toward health insurance for all Americans.
“We cannot rest until every American is insured,” he said. In recent years Jackson has advocated “economic literacy” through his Wall Street Project. Next year, he said, the Project will focus on the insurance industry. As part of its own effort to encourage diversification, IIAA hosted its annual convention in partnership with NAAIA and LAAIA this year.
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