New York, NY – Earlier today, over 150 QBE North America employees, producers, clients, community representatives and business trade press gathered to celebrate diversity and inclusion at the first QBE Diversity & Inclusion Speaker Series event in New York City.
Organized by PROUD, QBE NA's Business Resource Group for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Ally community, the event featured guest speaker, Eric Alva.
Mr. Alva, a retired Staff Sergeant with 13 years' service in the U.S. Marine Corp, was the first American wounded in the Iraq War. In his address, Eric spoke about serving in silence as a gay man, adjusting to life as an amputee, and the emotion and satisfaction of standing next to President Obama in 2010 as he signed legislation repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
His commitment and dedication to civil rights has continued since then, with his focus shifting to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Eric discussed the challenges still facing the LGBTQ community and his hopes for the future – something that resonated strongly with the audience, as QBE North America Chief Executive Officer, Russell Johnston, explained.
"Eric's comments about the importance of diversity and inclusion certainly resonated with me. QBE recognizes workplace diversity as an organizational strength. We know that drawing on a wide variety of capabilities, ideas, and insights enhances decision-making quality and entrepreneurship. We have so much to gain by building on our existing efforts and taking Diversity & Inclusion at QBE to the next level," he said.
While the inaugural Speaker Series event was supposed to be a celebration of Gay Pride month and diversity and inclusion at QBE, the event also had a somber tone. Chris Larson, Head of Global Casualty & U.S. Multiline Reinsurance, led the audience in a moment of silence to remember the victims of the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
"Orlando is a stark reminder that we all have a role to play in making our workplaces and communities more open and tolerant," he said.
In a show of solidarity and support for the LGBTQ community, guests were given rainbow #WeAreOrlando #QBENA bracelets. To support the victims of Orlando, the QBE Foundation is making a $10,000 donation to Equality Florida Institute, Inc. The organization, created in 1997, works to secure equality and justice for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. In response to the shootings, Equity Florida Institute has established a fund and every dollar donated will go directly to the victims and their families.
QBE North America is part of QBE Insurance Group Limited, one of the largest insurers and reinsurers worldwide. QBE NA reported Gross Written Premiums in 2015 of $4.6 billion. QBE Insurance Group's 2015 results can be found at www.qbe.com/us. Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, QBE operates out of 43 countries around the globe, with a presence in every key insurance market. The North America division, headquartered in New York, conducts business through its property and casualty insurance subsidiaries. QBE insurance companies are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best and "A+" by Standard & Poor's. Additional information can be found at www.qbe.com/us, or follow QBE North America on Twitter.
Carla Ferrara, Vice President, Corporate Communications & Branding, 212.497.9604, Carla.email@example.com