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“I remember this same story 10 years ago.”

The LinkedIn comment on our first-quarter magazine cover story, “Google’s Insurance Strategy Could Be a Game Changer,” appeared soon after we published an online preview of the article in which Google’s leader of insurance and risk management solutions described her purposeful mission to turn insurers into analytical powerhouses.

The possibility of working in an environment that intrinsically values people ignited my own passion to help the world become safer, which I believe insurers have the opportunity to do,” Google’s Henna Karna told Carrier Management, explaining what drew her to the tech giant after a long career leading digital transformations and analytics initiatives in the insurance industry.

Readers who get past the headline realize this is not at all the same old story—the one about Google’s online insurance distribution experiment, Google Compare—which shut down six years ago. And those who reflect back on an earlier profile of Karna we published back in 2018 realize that the heart of this story is the journey of a woman who came with her family from India to the U.S., overcoming barriers of poverty and racism with the help of a few kind individuals—but mainly through her work ethic, her dedication to mathematics and her bold mission to be a change agent.

This edition also has stories of Black American men and women battling racism and making a difference in the insurance industry.

Abel Travis, VP of Fundamental Underwriters, a division of AF Group, talks about his lifelong dream to build a large company from the ground up: “When I entered the insurance industry, I made it an objective to lead an organization and show other diverse talent from the Black and brown community that it’s not just an aspiration but an attainable goal.”

Michael Chang, CEO of Sompo GRS, talks about the need to be “mentally tough” as one of the few Black students at an Ivy League school and later when his ideas for launching insurance businesses were rejected by older white professionals: “If you don’t have that sort of fortitude and strength, you can’t change the game.”

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The leaders, and all the people of color featured in this edition, are working to drive change. But like a lot of white readers, I am unsure about what I can do personally to bring change. So, I asked.

Be bold, one Black professional told me during early days of my research, encouraging me to capture—and report on—diverging numbers of white vs. Black executives on carriers’ senior management teams. Legal representatives of his firm would ultimately ask him to refrain from being bold in his own statements to the media about experiences with racism.

Another setback: A representative of an analytics division of an insurance broker declined my invitation to update statistics on the scarcity of Black insurance leaders—or for that matter, Black underwriters—”due to sensitivity our clients may have on releasing this information.”

Those weren’t the only obstacles. A journalist who is not bold by nature almost threw in the towel.

In truth, my role of gathering statistics and articles about racial divides in the industry can hardly be called bold. True leaders can be purposeful. Some of us can be bold. The rest of us can be human.

Gloria Asare, who recently joined the ranks of the 1 percent of Black credentialed actuaries in North America, stressed the human element in her article: “Many people genuinely want to help, but they don’t know how. They also fear saying the wrong thing or being implicated, especially since you can be well meaning but still perform a racist act.” She also provided a list of small but solid steps industry professionals can take to make positive contributions to change.

Boldness aside, Asare offers sage advice: “It only requires you to be intentional, vulnerable and open to learning.”